Warren Buffett's stock picks ain't what they used to be.
The Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B (opens in new tab)) equity portfolio has changed dramatically over the past few years. For one, Berkshire Hathaway's investment arm has gained a taste for growth plays.
Although old-guard favorites such as American Express and Coca-Cola still form the core of the portfolio, Buffett & Co. have taken a shine to names such as Apple and Amazon.com, and even to lesser-known firms such as Snowflake and Nu Holdings.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Berkshire Hathaway initiated a huge stake in Taiwan Semiconductor in the third quarter of 2022. It's probably fair to assume that few folks anticipated Buffett building a big position in the world's largest pure-play semiconductor foundry. Berkshire owned Intel a decade ago, but it left a bad taste in Buffett's mouth and he dumped the holding in fairly short order. Suffice to say that chip stocks have never really been his favorite.
One thing that hasn't changed, however, is Buffett's preference for maintaining a highly concentrated portfolio. Berkshire Hathaway's five largest holdings comprise 75% of the portfolio's total value. The top 10 account for 87%. But whether we're talking about Berkshire's biggest bets or the scores of stocks it maintains at the margins, Buffett's focus shifted after the COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered the investment landscape.
Buffett owned airline stocks at the start of 2020; now he holds none. Banks were aces among Buffett stocks to begin 2020; Berkshire spent the past two-plus years kicking most of them to the curb. And it seems like only yesterday that Buffett was an enthusiastic buyer of select pharmaceutical names. Today, most of those positions have been closed out too.
The good news is that Buffett remains bullish on equities in 2022. The S&P 500 logged its worst first nine months of a year in decades. Naturally, the world's greatest long-term investor used the swoon as an opportunity to scoop up stocks at increasingly attractive prices.
Indeed, after being a net seller of equities in 2021, Berkshire was a net buyer of stocks to the tune of $45 billion through the first six months of 2022. Most recently, for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, Berkshire spent a net of $3.6 billion on stocks.
Buffett and his lieutenants initiated positions in three companies (Taiwan Semiconductor, Jefferies Financial Group and Louisiana Pacific), added to Berkshire's stakes in four companies, reduced exposure to five holdings (most notably U.S. Bancorp (opens in new tab)), and exited one position entirely (Store Capital.) That's according to Berkshire Hathaway's most recent Form 13F regulatory filing (opens in new tab), submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 14.
If you want to know which stocks legendary investor Warren Buffett feels are worth his time and attention, look no further than the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio. (And as always, remember: A number of these stocks were actually picked by portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler.)
Read on as we examine each and every holding to give investors a better understanding of the entire Berkshire Hathaway portfolio.
Price, share totals and other data as of Nov. 15, 2022. Stocks are listed in reverse order of their weight in the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio. Sources: Berkshire Hathaway’s SEC Form 13F filed Nov. 14, 2022, for the reporting period ended Sept. 30, 2022; and WhaleWisdom.
United Parcel Service
- Shares held: 59,400
- Holding value: $10,843,000
- Percent of portfolio: less than 0.01%
Another quarter has come and gone, and United Parcel Service (UPS (opens in new tab)) remains a (teeny, tiny) part of the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio.
The world's biggest package delivery company has for some time been the smallest position among Warren Buffett's stocks. It's hanging on by a thread, but it has done so for quite some time – for the better part of two decades, in fact.
It's possible "Uncle Warren" hasn't ditched the stock because he doesn't remember it's in there. It'd be hard to spot. At fewer than 60,000 shares, this is a rump position, leftovers, an odd lot.
It's certainly less than what Buffett started out with. UPS stock was added to the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio during the first quarter of 2006, when Buffett bought 1.43 million shares worth about $113.5 million at the time. That comes to an average price per share of $79.38.
But UPS never grew to be a major part of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio, and Buffett has pared the position over the years to where it wouldn't be a surprise if he exited the stake at any time. He's also been characteristically quiet about the stake; there's no mention of United Parcel Service in CNBC's indispensable Warren Buffett archive (opens in new tab).
Jefferies Financial Group
- Shares held: 433,558
- Holding value: $12,790,000
- Percent of portfolio: less than 0.01%
Warren Buffett has been paring back his bets on the financial sector in a big way over the past couple of years, but that doesn't mean he spies no bargains to be had.
Berkshire Hathaway slashed its stake in U.S. Bancorp (USB (opens in new tab)) in the third quarter of 2022 and also cut its Bank of New York Mellon (BK (opens in new tab)) by 14%. Yet, during the very same three-month period, Buffett's conglomerate initiated a (tiny) stake in Jefferies Financial Group (JEF (opens in new tab)).
Berkshire bought 433,558 shares in the investment bank worth $12.8 million as of Sept. 30. The position is so small that it could very well be the work of co-portfolio managers Ted Weschler or Todd Combs.
Either way, at less than a tenth of a percent of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, this is sort of an exploratory position at best. JEF shareholders will be very keen indeed to see if Berkshire Hathaway builds on the position going forward – or if it merely languishes like so many of the holding company's other essentially immaterial investments.
SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF
- Shares held: 39,400
- Holding value: $14,073,000
- Percent of portfolio: less than 0.01%
How serious is Buffett about index funds? Well, he brought the subject up again at this year's annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting, saying, "I recommend the S&P 500 index fund and have for a long, long time."
Perhaps that's why, in addition to VOO, he also bought the SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF (SPY (opens in new tab)) back in 2019.
The SPY is America's first ETF, and it's a touch more expensive than VOO at a still extremely reasonable 0.0945% annually, which comes to just $9.45 annually on a $10,000 investment. While many use it as a buy-and-hold investment, its high volume makes it a popular tool for traders, too.
For the most part, SPY is pretty much the same product as the VOO. Both funds track the S&P 500's components. Both funds are extremely liquid. The VOO just has a lighter fee (typical of Vanguard ETFs).
When you add together Berkshire's investments in the two tracking funds, you start to realize those investments probably are largely symbolic. The stakes collectively account for roughly one one-hundredth of a percent of Berkshire Hathaway's equity holdings.
Vanguard S&P 500 ETF
- Shares held: 43,000
- Holding value: $14,117,000
- Percent of portfolio: less than 0.01%
Warren Buffett's advice for most investors has always been simple: Buy an S&P 500 Index fund, and while you're at it, throw a little money into Treasuries to help you sleep well in down markets.
However, for years, it was always "indexing for thee, but not for me."
The market's most celebrated stock picker kept on doing what he's always done: picking stocks and not indexing a dime.
Buffett finally took his own medicine in 2019's final innings, however, buying not one but two S&P 500-tracking exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
The first of those is the the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO (opens in new tab)). Like any S&P 500 tracker, it holds every component of the S&P 500 Index, and it does so for an absolute song: 0.03%, or just $3 annually for every $10,000 invested.
It's great that Buffett finally put his money where his mouth was. But if we're being honest, it's a strange position for a man who is actively trying to beat the index. After all, an ETF merely tracks an index, and will actually underperform slightly once costs are included.
Who knows? Maybe Uncle Warren really just wanted to drive his longstanding point home.
Liberty Latin America
- Shares held (Class A / Class C): 2,630,792 / 1,284,020
- Holding value (Class A / Class C): $16,285,000 / $7,897,000
- Percent of portfolio (Total): 0.01%
Over the years, Berkshire has made several de facto bets on legendary pay-TV mogul John Malone. The initial appeal to Buffett and his portfolio managers is plain to understand: Game knows game.
Liberty Latin America provides cable, broadband, telephone and wireless services in Chile, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and other parts of Latin America. Liberty Global (LBTYK (opens in new tab)), the multinational telecommunications company in which Berkshire also holds a stake, issued tracking stock of its Latin American operations in 2015, then spun off those operations entirely in 2018.
More recently, in November 2020, Liberty Latin America closed on its nearly $2 billion purchase of AT&T's (T (opens in new tab)) wireless and wireline assets in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. And in August 2021, it completed the acquisition of Telefónica's (TEF (opens in new tab)) wireless operations in Costa Rica.
There hasn't been much action in LILA and LILAK of late. Buffett left the positions completely untouched in 2021 and the first three quarters of 2022.
- Shares held: 578,000
- Holding value: $31,692,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.01%
Another meager position that survived another quarter is Mondelez International (MDLZ (opens in new tab)), whose brands include Oreo cookies, Cadbury chocolate, Halls cough drops, Trident gum and Triscuit crackers.
In 2007, Buffett invested in what was then known as Kraft Foods. The packaged food company changed its name to Mondelez in 2012 after spinning off its North American grocery business, which was called Kraft Foods Group and traded under the ticker KRFT. Kraft Foods Group later merged with H.J. Heinz, in a 2015 deal backed by Buffett, to form Kraft Heinz.
A couple years later, in 2017, Buffett shot down speculation that Kraft Heinz would buy the global snacks giant.
Berkshire Hathaway maintains a significant stake in KHC (more on that in a bit). MDLZ, not so much. Berkshire isn't even among Mondelez's top 100 shareholders, at just 0.04% of MDLZ shares outstanding, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. And Mondelez is a nothingburger among Buffett stocks, accounting for less than 1/100th of a percent of the total value of BRK.B's equity portfolio.
Procter & Gamble
- Shares held: 315,400
- Holding value: $39,819,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.01%
Warren Buffett is clearly fond of Dow Jones stocks, which can be found throughout the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. But Procter & Gamble (PG (opens in new tab)) is one Dow component that has fallen by the wayside as a Berkshire Hathaway investment.
Buffett came to own P&G – maker of Tide detergent, Crest toothpaste and Pampers diapers – via the holding company's 2005 acquisition of razor-maker Gillette. At the time, Buffett, a major Gillette shareholder, called the tie-up a "dream deal." Procter & Gamble became one of BRK.B's biggest equity positions.
The dream didn't last long.
The Great Recession eroded the pricing power of old-line consumer staples companies such as P&G. The company embarked on a plan to shed 100 underperforming brands. The Duracell battery business happened to be on the list, and Berkshire bought it in 2014 in exchange for PG stock. Two years later, Buffett pared what was left of the P&G stake by 99%. He hasn't added to the position since.
Johnson & Johnson
- Shares held: 327,100
- Holding value: $53,435,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.02%
Like fellow defensive stock P&G, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ (opens in new tab)) has fallen out of favor with Buffett and represents nothing more than a token holding.
Blame the diversified healthcare giant's history of headline-grabbing faceplants. J&J struggled with manufacturing problems and allegations of illegal marketing practices in 2010 and 2011. Buffett was critical of the company for those gaffes, as well as for using too much of its own stock in its 2011 acquisition of device-maker Synthes. Disenchanted with Johnson & Johnson, Berkshire dumped most of its stake in 2012.
Berkshire's position in JNJ topped out at 64.3 million shares in 2007. Today, the holding company's equity stake comes to just 327,100 shares (about $53 million), which represents a negligible fraction of the float.
- Shares held: 404,911
- Holding value: $60,449,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.02%
Berkshire Hathaway has plenty of insurance exposure in its core operations, including Geico, General Re, MLMIC Insurance and Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, among other. But the industry has never been a major factor in its equity portfolio. Indeed, the company dumped what was left in its stake of Travelers (TRV (opens in new tab)) in early 2020.
So it was something of a surprise that BRK.B not only bought into Marsh McLennan (MMC (opens in new tab)) at the end of 2020, but expanded its position in Q1 2021.
Berkshire initiated a 4.2 million-share position worth just short of half a billion dollars during Q4 2020. It wasn't a major position, at just 0.2% of the total value of Berkshire's equity holdings. But by virtue of another 1 million shares or so purchased during the first quarter of 2021, the stake had increased by 23% in just a few short months.
However, Buffett has had a change of heart of late.
His holding company reduced the position by 20% during the second quarter, then by another 34% in Q3 2021, and reported a massive 85% reduction in 2021's final quarter, leaving BRK.B with a trifling 400,000 shares or so.
- Shares held: 10,695,448
- Holding value: $101,928,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.03%
Brazilian financial technology firm StoneCo (STNE (opens in new tab)) provides software and hardware for companies to facilitate credit- and debit-card payments. And it had been one of the "growthiest" Warren Buffett stocks since Berkshire entered the position in Q4 2018.
But my, how things have changed.
STNE shares more than doubled in 2020 to easily outdo the S&P 500's 18% returns, bringing Buffett's gains since the end of 2018 to 355%. But StoneCo's stock has since gone ice-cold, shedding more than 88% of its value since the beginning of 2021.
Small wonder, then, that Buffett took some profits during Q1 2021, selling off roughly 3.5 million shares, or 24% of the stake. A little more surprising he hasn't touched the position since.
Given the relatively small position in STNE, and the fact that it's a fintech company, you won't be surprised to learn the position was initiated by Buffett lieutenant Todd Combs – with the Oracle of Omaha's blessing, no doubt.
But while StoneCo isn't necessarily in the Buffett stocks blueprint, it nonetheless fits well with Berkshire Hathaway's general bullishness on companies that facilitate and process payments. "Payments are a huge deal worldwide," Warren Buffett said at Berkshire's 2018 shareholder meeting.
- Shares held: 5,795,906
- Holding value: $296,692,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.10%
The housing market might be swooning under the weight of fast-rising mortgage rates, but that's made shares in select sector stocks a screaming bargain buy.
That would appear to be the investment thesis behind Louisiana Pacific (LPX), anyway. LPX, which makes materials for the homebuilder industry, saw its shares come under pressure in the third quarter, and that's when Berkshire Hathaway pounced.
The holding company initiated an LPX stake of 5.8 million shares worth $297 million as of Q3's end. At less than 0.01% of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, this is a toehold at best, and likely a purchase made by subalterns Ted Weschler or Todd Combs.
Floor & Decor
- Shares held: 4,780,000
- Holding value: $335,843,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.11%
In the first quarter of 2022, Warren Buffett doubled down (and then some) on Floor & Decor Holdings (FND), which sells hard surface flooring and related accessories primarily through 133 company-operated warehouse store formats.
Buffett bought more than 816,000 shares in the company worth almost $99 million during the third quarter of 2021. He then added another 26,846 shares, or 3%, in Q4.
But he really put an exclamation point on the investment in Q1 2022, adding another 3.9 million shares. FND went from a negligible 0.03% of Berkshire's portfolio to a more significant 0.1%. It remains a small position, to be sure, but it still fits nicely with some of Buffett's other holdings and investments.
Berkshire, for example, has been building a position in home goods retailer RH (RH) – formerly known as Restoration Hardware – since the third quarter of 2019. And he's made no secret of his love for Berkshire Hathaway's wholly owned subsidiary Nebraska Furniture Mart.
Floor & Decor thus appears to be a way to play the housing market, albeit with a somewhat oblique, Buffett-style angle.
Formula One Group
- Shares held: 7,722,451
- Holding value: $451,764,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.15%
In a position most likely handled by Ted Weschler, Berkshire more than tripled its stake in Formula One Group (FWONK (opens in new tab)) during the first quarter of 2022. The purchase of an additional 5.6 million shares brought the conglomerate's total holdings up to 7.7 million.
Berkshire initiated the stake in Q4 – a minuscule one of just 2.1 million shares, worth $134 million at the time. Even now FWONK accounts for only 0.15% of Berkshire's portfolio value.
FWONK holds commercial rights for the Formula One World Championship – a nine-month long motor race-based competition in which teams compete for the constructors' championship and drivers compete for the drivers' championship.
Formula One Group also is a subsidiary of John Malone's Liberty Media Corporation, making FWONK yet another of several Berkshire investments tied to the billionaire businessman. Weschler, in his pre-Berkshire career as a hedge fund manager, invested in a number of Malone's businesses.
- Shares held: 107,118,784
- Holding value: $471,323,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.16%
Buffett-backed Nu Holdings (NU (opens in new tab)) went public in late 2021, giving Berkshire Hathaway a stake worth $1 billion as of Dec. 31.
The Brazilian financial technology company, which offers digital banking services to 48 million customers in Latin America, was one of the largest initial public offerings (IPOs) of the year. The fintech's hook is that most retail banks in Brazil charge extremely high fees while offering poor customer service to boot.
The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, for the record, has never been a fan of IPOs. He's said so, on the record, and has notably turned up his nose at some of the most heavily hyped stock market debuts.
But that didn't scare him away from NU, the second widely touted IPO he's backed in the past two years. Berkshire Hathaway backed Snowflake's (SNOW (opens in new tab)) blockbuster IPO when the cloud infrastructure unicorn hit the public market in fall 2020.
NU hasn't lived up to its early promise, though. The value of BRK.B's stake is down to $471 million.
- Shares held: 420,293
- Holding value: $506,993,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.17%
It's possible that Buffett saw something familiar and comforting in the shares of insurance and investment firm Markel (MKL (opens in new tab)).
At more than a thousand bucks a pop, MKL stock isn't as easy for traders to push up and down as your garden-variety stock. That's precisely why Warren Buffett has never split Berkshire's A-class shares (opens in new tab), whose $460,000-plus price tag would be enough to buy your average-priced home in Maryland with enough left over to park a couple new Mini Coopers in the garage.
Markel is a three-pronged financial institution. Its three major business lines are insurance (insurance, reinsurance, fronting and insurance-linked securities); investing; and Markel Ventures. The latter is a growing portfolio of companies, such as luxury handbag maker Brahmin, homebuilder Eagle and architectural product maker Panel Specialists.
Buffett merely dipped a toe into this position during the first quarter of 2022, buying about 420,000 shares. But he followed that up with the addition of another 47,318 shares, or an 11% increase to the stake, in Q2.
- Shares held: 2,170,000
- Holding value: $580,724,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.20%
Berkshire gave a large vote of confidence to RH (RH (opens in new tab)) in Q1 2022, which many readers know as Restoration Hardware.
The holding company upped its position by 19%, or 2.2 million shares. After standing pat in Q2, Berkshire's total holdings were worth $461 million as of June 30. Berkshire, which was already positioned in home furnishings retail via its Nebraska Furniture Mart subsidiary, initiated the RH position Q3 2019, and added to it by 1% at the end of last year.
RH operates 105 showrooms and outlets across the U.S. and Canada. It also owns Waterworks, a high-end bath-and-kitchen retailer with 14 showrooms.
While brick-and-mortar retailers have struggled mightily over the past few years thanks in part to the rise of e-commerce, RH has found success catering to the upper crust. And that success continued throughout the COVID pandemic as Americans, forced to work from home, decided to spend on improving their environs.
It's hard to tell whether this was an Oracle of Omaha buy, or a project of one of his lieutenants, Ted Weschler or Todd Combs. Buffett has been mostly mum on RH. Still, the stake fits broadly with the Oracle's worldview. Buffett stocks tend to be bets on America's growth, which certainly includes housing-related industries.
- Shares held: 6,353,727
- Holding value: $633,467,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.21%
Globe Life (GL (opens in new tab)) – known as Torchmark up until 2019 – is another of the small insurance-related holdings in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio.
GL, a life and health insurance firm, might be a boring company, but it has very quietly been a very good stock pick. Berkshire Hathaway has owned shares in Globe Life/Torchmark since early 2001.
BRK.B owns 6.5% of Globe Life's shares outstanding, which makes it the firm's third-largest shareholder after Vanguard and Wellington Management.
- Shares held: 5,242,000
- Holding value: $703,319,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.24%
Berkshire Hathaway bulked up its exposure to the communication services sector during the third quarter of 2020 by acquiring a small stake in wireless communications company T-Mobile US (TMUS (opens in new tab)).
Then Buffett literally doubled down on that bet during Q4 2020, growing his stake by another 2.8 million shares, or 117%.
T-Mobile is certainly a much more attractive investment since it closed its $26 billion merger with Sprint in April 2020. The deal created a real No. 3 wireless company whose total subscribers are at least within the same ballpark as Verizon (VZ (opens in new tab)) and AT&T (T (opens in new tab)).
Shares had a rough 2021, off 14% versus a total return of about 29% for the broader market. But they have rebounded in 2022, up 16% over the first nine months of the year versus a 25% decline for the S&P 500.
The 5.2 million-share, $703 million stake now represents 0.24% of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio's worth. That amounts to a 0.4% stake in the firm, making Buffett one of the firm's top 25 shareholders.
- Shares held: 30,000,000
- Holding value: $834,901,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.28%
Ally Financial (ALLY (opens in new tab)) shareholders no doubt appreciate getting Warren Buffett's vote of confidence. Berkshire slowed its overall pace of equity purchases in Q2 2022, but it didn't hold back on boosting its ALLY stake.
Buffett bought another 21,030,580 shares, or a 234% increase to the position, to bring BRK.B's holdings up to nearly 9 million shares. The investment was worth more than $800 million as of Sept. 30.
Ally Financial has actually done business for more than a century, though for most of that time it operated as General Motors Acceptance Corporation. It rebranded is Ally in 2010, then went public in 2014. Its main businesses are Ally Bank, an online bank that offers traditional products such as savings and checking services, CDs and IRAs; and Ally Invest, which provides securities-brokerage and investment-advisory services.
Buffett has mostly been shedding BRK.B's bank stocks over the past couple of years, but Ally has become a major exception to that general retreat. With 9.7% of the financial firm's shares outstanding, Berkshire is Ally's second-largest shareholder.
- Shares held: 9,156,714
- Holding value: $877,219,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.30%
Berkshire instantly became a top-five shareholder in Celanese (CE (opens in new tab)) when it initiated a position in Q1 2022. It followed up immediately by increasing its stake by 16% in the second quarter.
As a result, Berkshire now holds 8.5% of CE's shares outstanding, making it the company's second-largest stockholder.
The holding is less meaningful for Berkshire, however, comprising just 0.36% of its equity portfolio. With 9.2 million shares worth $877 million, the relatively small size of the CE investments suggests that it was likely the doing of either Weschler or Combs.
Either way, the commanding stake in the firm known for acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer gives Berkshire its only position in the materials sector.
In addition to giving Berkshire exposure to a part of the market that it had lacked, Celanese has strong long-term growth prospects and a commitment to returning cash to shareholders.
CE has raised its dividend annually for 14 years. Even better, from Berkshire's point of view, is the company's history of share repurchases.
Buffett generally prefers buybacks to dividends not only because they're more tax efficient (dividends get taxed twice), but because they increase an investor's claim on earnings without the investor having to lift a finger.
- Shares held: 6,125,376
- Holding value: $1,041,069,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.35%
Warren Buffett made quite the splash in fall 2020 when he finally dove head-first into the Snowflake (SNOW (opens in new tab)) IPO.
The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, for the record, has never been a fan of IPOs. He's said so, on the record, and has notably turned up his nose at some of the most heavily hyped stock market debuts.
But that didn't stop him from being involved when Snowflake, a cloud infrastructure unicorn, hit the public markets with a blockbuster IPO.
Snowflake is a cloud-data warehousing company that plays in a roughly $55 billion annual market – a market that's expanding. And it generated a lot of hype because it offers a way for companies to run their software on various cloud platforms, be they provided by Amazon.com, Microsoft (MSFT (opens in new tab)) or Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL (opens in new tab)), to name just three.
But hot growth stocks have had a rough time of it in 2022, and SNOW has been no exception. Shares lost around 50% of their value for the year-to-date through Sept. 30.
- Shares held: 3,198,344
- Holding value: $1,087,021,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.37%
Buffett exited a pair of pharma/biotech holdings during the first quarter and heavily sold out of a third. But that doesn't mean he's done with the healthcare sector. Indeed, in Q2 2022, he once again upped BRK.B's stake in McKesson (MCK (opens in new tab)).
MCK offers a number of healthcare solutions – including supply chain management, retail pharmacy, community oncology and specialty care – in 14 countries. For instance, its pharmaceutical distribution business serves more than 40,000 retail chains, long-term care providers and other customers, while its medical-surgical supplies business gets hundreds of thousands of products – everything from bandages to exam tables – to hospitals and doctor's offices across the nation.
Berkshire initiated a stake in Q1 and added another 276,369 shares, or a 9% increase, in Q2. The holding company now owns 3.2 million shares worth more than $1 billion as of Sept. 30.
With 2.2% of MCK's shares outstanding, Berkshire is the company's sixth-largest stockholder.
- Shares held: 3,986,648
- Holding value: $1,133,563,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.38%
Berkshire Hathaway might own Mastercard (MA (opens in new tab)), but Warren Buffett has given credit where credit is due: namely, to his portfolio managers Combs and Weschler.
Buffett's biggest regret is not pulling the trigger sooner.
"I could have bought them as well, and looking back, I should have," Buffett said about Visa and Mastercard in 2018, referring to his own investment in American Express.
Mastercard, which boasts 1.3 billion users across the world, is one of several payments processors that count themselves as Buffett stocks.
Mastercard shares have returned nearly 25% annnualized, including dividends, over the past decade, vs. a 14% annualized total return for S&P 500 over the same span.
- Shares held: 3,828,941
- Holding value: $1,161,509,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.39%
Charter Communications (CHTR (opens in new tab)) markets cable TV, internet, telephone and other services under the Spectrum brand, which is America's second-largest cable operator behind Comcast (CMCSA (opens in new tab)). It greatly expanded its reach in 2016 when it acquired Time Warner Cable and sister company Bright House Networks.
And it's also yet another Buffett stock with a John Malone connection – albeit a small one now. Malone served on the telecom and media company's board of directors from 2013 until 2018, when he stepped down to concentrate his focus on a smaller group of companies. (He does remain a director emeritus, however.)
Buffett entered CHTR in the second quarter of 2014, but he has seemingly lost his love for the telecom company in recent years. His position has been trimmed down from 9.4 million shares in early 2017 to just 3.8 million shares as of Berkshire's most recent 13F, including a 370,000-share reduction (or 8%) in Q4 2021.
Charter remains a somewhat significant position in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, at 0.39% of its equity assets.
- Shares held: 4,396,000
- Holding value: $1,177,556,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.40%
London-based Aon (AON (opens in new tab)) offers a wide range of professional services, from insurance and reinsurance to pension administration and financial advising to health insurance. And it represented Buffett's lone new position in Q1 2021.
Like most insurance firms, you won't necessarily expect profits to grow in a perfectly straight line year after year. But revenues have improved without interruption over the past four years, and net income is up in three of the past five years.
That operational strength has led to superior returns against both the market and its peers. AON shares have provided an annualized total return (price plus dividends) of 20.3% over the past decade, versus 14% for the S&P 500.
Berkshire hasn't exactly bet the farm on Aon. The stake is worth just $1.2 billion, or 0.40% of the equity portfolio's assets. Nonetheless, it's one of the few stocks Buffett & Co. were bullish on in 2022 amid a torrent of quarterly sales last year.
- Shares held: 10,666,000
- Holding value: $1,205,258,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.41%
Amazon.com (AMZN (opens in new tab)) is now one of Warren Buffett's more disappointing equity investments.
Berkshire disclosed its initial 483,300-share position after the first quarter of 2019, then added another 54,000 shares during Q2. And while he enjoyed some brisk outperformance amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Buffett has since had to put up with a dismal 2022.
The end result is that AMZN has essentially only matched the performance of the broader market since Berkshire first got involved.
That's OK. If Buffett really feels like it, he can deflect the blame to one of his lieutenants. Even before Berkshire Hathaway submitted its Q1 2019 regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Buffett told CNBC: "One of the fellows in the office that manage money ... bought some Amazon, so it will show up (when that file is submitted)."
That said, Buffett has long been an admirer of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, he admitted in an interview. He also copped to wishing he had bought the stock sooner.
"Yeah, I've been a fan, and I've been an idiot for not buying (AMZN shares)," Buffett told CNBC.
Berkshire holds an insignificant 0.1% of Amazon's shares outstanding to barely keep it within the top 100 shareholders. Interestingly, Buffett marginally reduced the position by 4,000 shares in Q1 2020, but he hasn't touched the stake since.
- Shares held: 8,297,460
- Holding value: $1,474,044,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.50%
Visa (V (opens in new tab)) operates the world's largest payments network, and thus is well-positioned to benefit from the growth of cashless transactions and digital mobile payments. Like Mastercard, Visa was the idea of lieutenants Todd Combs and/or Ted Weschler (Buffett won't tell). Also like Mastercard, Buffett wishes Berkshire had bought more.
And like Mastercard, Buffett's Visa position got a little smaller in the back half of 2021. The stake in V was nipped by 4%, or 425,000 shares, in Q3, then by a more substantial 13%, or 1.3 million shares, in Q4.
Berkshire Hathaway first bought Visa in the third quarter of 2011, and it has proven to be a mammoth winner. Including dividends, Visa has delivered a 20% annualized total return over the past 10 years, vs. 13.5% annualized for the S&P 500.
"If I had been as smart as Ted or Todd, I would have (bought Visa)," Buffett told shareholders at the 2018 annual meeting.
- Shares held: 50,000,000
- Holding value: $1,604,500,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.54%
Warren Buffett once again cut Berkshire's stake in General Motors (GM (opens in new tab)) in the third quarter 2022, this time by 5%, or 2.9 million shares. That followed second-quarter sales that reduced BRK.B's holdings by 14%, or 9.1 million shares.
Buffett first bought shares in GM in early 2012. And just a few years ago, he was becoming increasingly bullish on the world's fourth-largest auto manufacturer by production. Buffett upped Berkshire Hathaway's holdings in GM 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Buffett started to distance himself in 2021. Berkshire reduced its ownership in the car company by another 10% in Q2, or 7 million shares. That followed cuts of 5.5 million shares (7.6%) in the first three months of 2021, and 7.5 million shares (9.0%) during the final quarter of 2020.
But Buffett was back to buying in the first quarter of 2022, upping BRK.B's stake by 2 million shares, or 3%.
General Motors has always looked like a classic Buffett value bet. After all, there are fewer American brands more iconic than GM. He also has sung the praises of CEO Mary Barra on several occasions. And the stock perennially trades at crazy-cheap multiples of expected earnings.
GM is still a relatively small position, accounting for well less than 1% of Berkshire's portfolio, but the recent buying, if nothing else, shows Buffett hasn't given up on this iconic name.
- Shares held: 91,216,510
- Holding value: $1,736,763,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.59%
Paramount Global (PARA (opens in new tab)) is a mass media and entertainment organization that resulted from 2019's merger between Viacom and CBS. Its properties include Paramount Pictures' film and television studios, CBS, The CW, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, CMT and Showtime.
It also gives Buffett three more streaming properties – Paramount+, Showtime OTT and Pluto TV – to add alongside Apple's (AAPL (opens in new tab)) Apple TV+ and Amazon.com's (AMZN (opens in new tab)) Amazon Prime.
Admittedly, Paramount+ is something of a second-tier streamer. Its number of subscribers pales in comparison to the likes of Netflix's (NFLX (opens in new tab)), Disney+ or Amazon Prime.
Although it's not a traditional value stock, PARA very much looks like a Buffett value bet. Paramount's shares trade at just 11.5 times earnings-per-share estimates. Shares yield more than 3% at current prices, too.
Maybe that's why Buffett has been digging in with both hands. Berkshire initiated a position in Q1, and then upped it by 13%, or 9.5 million shares, in Q2. Most recently, in Q3, Berkshire added another 12.8 million shares to increase its stake by 16%.
With 12.1% of the company's shares outstanding, Berkshire is PARA's top stockholder. That said, at a weight of 0.59%, PARA isn't a huge presence in the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio.
- Shares held: 50,268,823
- Holding value: $2,199,260,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.74%
Warren Buffett once again reduced Berkshire Hathaway's exposure to one of his more recent favorite stock picks in the third quarter. The holding company shed 2.2 million shares, or 4% of its stake, in supermarket operator Kroger (KR (opens in new tab)).
That followed second-quarter sales of 5.5 million shares, or 9% of Berkshire's holdings.
Berkshire also pared its stake in the previous two quarters. It sold 3.4 million shares, or 5% of its stake, in Q1, and 350,000 shares, or less than 0.01%, in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Berkshire Hathaway turned a few heads during the fourth quarter of 2019, when it initiated its 18.9 million-share position in Kroger. But given what was to come, it now looks like a savvy pick.
After all, the massive supermarket chain treated shareholders well during the worst of the pandemic and continued to outperform in 2021. Shares have delivered a three-year annualized total return of 22.5% vs. 10.3% for the S&P 500.
Kroger operates roughly 2,750 retail food stores operating under such banners as Dillons, Ralphs, Harris Teeter and its namesake brand, as well as 1,585 gas stations and even 170 jewelry stores under banners including Fred Meyer Jewelers and Littman Jewelers.
With about 50 million shares total, Berkshire Hathaway is the third-largest owner of Kroger shares, with its 7.3% interest coming behind only Vanguard (11.3%) and BlackRock (9.2%).
The old-economy value play is a natural Buffett stock, right in line with the Oracle's traditional interests.
- Shares held: 12,815,613
- Holding value: $2,226,072,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.75%
Berkshire bought Verisign (VRSN (opens in new tab)) – an internet infrastructure service company that quite literally keeps the world connected online and acts as a domain registry for the .com, .net and other top-level domains – during a dip in the final quarter of 2012.
The company's dominance of the space exemplifies Buffett's love of deep moats, and the stake has paid off well. VRSN sports a 10-year annualized total return of 16.3% vs. 13.5% for the S&P 500.
VRSN also is a teachable example of how stocks aren't good or bad in a bubble. One investor's brilliant purchase often is, depending on timing, another investor's biggest failure.
Stanley Druckenmiller, a famed former hedge fund manager, didn't have nearly as much luck with Verisign. Druckenmiller made a $200 million short on tech stocks in early 1999 while investing for George Soros' Quantum Fund, but lost $600 million in the trade. He then tried to win it back via a big $6 billion buy-in of tech stocks including Verisign ... but he lost $3 billion in six weeks as VRSN and several other recent purchases flopped, making it one of the "smart money's" worst stock calls of all time.
Berkshire Hathaway currently is the largest investor in VRSN shares. It owns a little less than 13 million shares, giving it 12.1% control in the company.
- Shares held: 53,045,558
- Holding value: $2,251,783,937
- Percent of portfolio: 0.76%
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway cut its stake in longtime holding U.S. Bancorp (USB (opens in new tab)) by more than half in the third quarter of 2022.
Buffett has been slashing his holding company's exposure to financial stocks – and bank stocks in particular – for years. And although the U.S. Bancorp position hasn't been immune to some recent downsizing in the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio, Buffett has left it mostly intact.
That is until the third quarter of 2022.
U.S. Bancorp, the nation's fifth largest bank by assets, is one of the oldest holdings in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. Warren Buffett first bought shares in the industry's largest regional lender in the first quarter of 2006. And while he has always been tight-lipped about the USB position, Buffett's actions over the past few quarters have hinted that something like this might be in the offing.
After all, Buffett clipped Berkshire Hathaway's USB stake by 5%, or 6.6 million shares, in the second quarter of 2022. He also pared the stake in each of the first three quarters of 2021.
Buffett's conglomerate now holds 52.5 million USB shares, or 3.5% of the regional lender's shares outstanding. That's down from an ownership stake of 8.1% prior to the sales.
Berkshire Hathaway's USB stock now accounts for just 0.7% of the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio. That's down from 1.8% before Buffett slashed the stake.
- Shares held: 55,155,797
- Holding value: $2,298,341,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.78%
After Uncle Warren ended his longtime relationship with Wells Fargo, he rekindled things with another old financial flame – Citigroup (C (opens in new tab)) – entering a new stake roughly 20 years after he exited the last one.
Financial stocks broadly failed to gain any traction during the first quarter of 2022, but Citigroup really struggled, declining by roughly 12% between the start of the year and March 31. However, that dip might have been the push Buffett needed to enter the nation's fourth-largest bank by assets.
Citigroup had been the weakest of the Big Four banks over the recent past, making shares look like quite the value play.
This was a relatively big splash by Berkshire, too. The stake immediately put Citigroup within the holding company's top 15 positions.
Bank of New York Mellon
- Shares held: 62,210,878
- Holding value: $2,396,364,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.81%
Bank of New York Mellon (BK (opens in new tab)) had long stood apart from the pack. That is, until the third quarter of 2022.
Warren Buffett has been an admirer of BNY Mellon for some time, and despite his dwindling love for banks in general, he had largely left his BK stake alone. He did trim the position a little in Q2 2020, but that was nothing compared to the heavy-handed haircuts that Berkshire's other bank holdings have suffered over the past couple years.
But things changed in Q3.
Buffett pared Berkshire Hathaway's stake in the custodian bank by 14%, or 10.1 million shares. As such, BK dropped to about a 0.8% weight in the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio from more than 1.0% three months earlier.
As a custodian bank, Bank of New York Mellon holds assets for institutional clients and provides back-end accounting services. Its roots actually go all the way back to 1784, when Bank of New York was founded by a group including Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Today, BK is the nation's 11th largest bank by assets, according to data from the Federal Reserve.
Berkshire Hathaway first took a position in BK back during Q3 2010, when it paid an estimated average price of $43.90.
Liberty Sirius XM Group
- Shares held (Class A / Class C): 20,207,680 / 43,208,291
- Holding value (Class A / Class C): $769,307,000 / $1,629,386,000
- Percent of portfolio (Total): 0.81%
Near the end of 2021, Berkshire dumped its holdings in Sirius XM Holdings (SIRI (opens in new tab)). And yet, Buffett still boasts not one but two different stakes in the satellite radio leader.
Liberty Media has for years held a large stake in Sirius XM Holdings. But in 2015, the company actually recapitalized, offering (among other things) several tracking stocks that allowed investors to participate in the performance of Liberty's Sirius XM investment directly rather than get it piecemeal through Liberty Media itself.
While that stake has largely been left alone over the past few quarters, Buffett decided to amplify his Sirius bet by tacking on another 5.3 million or so shares of LSXMA, or a 35% bump from the third quarter of 2021.
Berkshire is the largest institutional shareholder in each of the tracking stocks, holding 19.2% of Liberty Sirius XM's C shares and 20.7% of the A shares.
- Shares held: 104,476,035
- Holding value: $2,603,542,000
- Percent of portfolio: 0.88%
Buffett dipped into Berkshire's massive cash pile in Q1 2022 to initiate a commanding position in HP (HPQ) (opens in new tab). And this big new bet on a PC and printer maker appears to be another classic Buffett value play.
HPQ generates a steady and ample stream of free cash flow (FCF) – the cash left after expenses, capital expenditures and financial commitments have been met – or an average of nearly $4 billion a year over the past five years.
Industry analysts expect that FCF number to increase and – most importantly – to flow into investors' pockets.
Free cash flow supports dividends, and it's no secret Buffett adores dividends. HPQ, for its part, has been not only a generous dividend payer, but a dividend grower. The company has increased its payout annually for 13 years.
True, the market for PCs and printers is hardly overflowing with growth prospects. But HPQ has a solid track record of slow but steady gains on the top line. Wall Street analysts see this incremental revenue growth continuing for years, all helped by recent strategic acquisitions.
And then there's HPQ's valuation, which Buffett appears to have found irresistible.
Buffett, with 9.1% of HP's shares outstanding, snatched up a boring but dependable cash machine at a bargain price.
- Shares held: 36,095,570
- Holding value: $2,987,630,000
- Percent of portfolio: 1.01%
DaVita (DVA (opens in new tab)) was a largely undisturbed holding in the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio, at least up until in 2020. Then Buffett snipped 1% of his stake in the kidney care provider and dialysis center operator in Q1 2020. He cut it by another 5% in Q3.
But Buffett left the position alone in 2021, and he hasn't touched it so far in 2022, either.
DaVita serves patients via more than 3,000 dialysis centers in the U.S. and nine other countries. Aging baby boomers and a graying population in many developed markets should provide a strong, secular tailwind.
Berkshire disclosed its initial position in DaVita during 2012's first quarter. Given that DVA was a large position of Ted Weschler's Peninsula Capital in his pre-Berkshire days, it wasn't unreasonable to assume that it was his pick. Weschler confirmed as much in 2014.
DaVita's shares have been a disappointment since BRK.B first bought it at the end of 2011. The stock's 20-year annualized total return comes to 11.4%, vs. 9.8% for the broader market.
- Shares held: 60,060,880
- Holding value: $4,117,774,000
- Percent of portfolio: 1.39%
Warren Buffett's biggest surprise buy in the third quarter of 2022 was initiating a big stake in Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM (opens in new tab)).
Berkshire Hathaway purchased 60.1 million shares in the world's largest pure-play semiconductor foundry, a stake worth more than $4 billion as of Sept. 30.
TSM, which is a critical source of chips for the global supply chain, saw its shares tumble in 2022, hurt by fears of weakening demand and increased competition.
Indeed, with shares off about 40%, TSM stock was apparently too cheap to pass up. At 1.4% of Berkshire Hathaway's equity portfolio, TSM immediately became the holding company's 10th largest investment.
The move came somewhat out of the blue, given Buffett's focus on adding exposure to the energy sector in past quarters. It's also true that Berkshire Hathaway doesn't have a lot of tech stocks in its portfolio. Although its single largest holding is Apple, only six of the 48 stocks and two ETFs in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio come from the tech sector.
- Shares held: 60,141,866
- Holding value: $4,470,946,000
- Percent of portfolio: 1.51%
We know that either Ted Weschler or Todd Combs first bought shares in video game publisher Activision Blizzard (ATVI (opens in new tab)) in Q4. Buffett said so.
But it was the Oracle of Omaha himself who upped the position by 338% in Q1 and another 6% in Q2.
The original purchase was simply great timing. In mid-January, Microsoft (MSFT (opens in new tab)) agreed to pay $68.7 billion, or $95 a share in cash, for ATVI. At the time the deal was announced, the software titan was paying a premium of roughly 30% to the video game maker's most recent closing price.
BRK.B, however, bought more than 14.6 million shares in ATVI – worth $975.2 million as of Dec. 31 – during the fourth quarter at an estimated average price of $66.53 per share. That was a quick score.
As for the latest purchases, that's a bet by Buffett that the deal will indeed close. It's an arbitrage play, and we know this because Buffett said as much at Berkshire's annual meeting.
"It is my purchases, not the manager who bought it some months ago," Buffett said about the latest Activision buys. "If the deal goes through, we make some money, and if the deal doesn't go through, who knows what happens."
Activision shareholders approved the company's sale to Microsoft, but some investors are betting the deal could be scuttled by antitrust regulators.
Perhaps that's why Berkshire Hathaway pared the stake in Q3 2022, selling 8.3 million, or 12% of the position.
- Shares held: 24,669,778
- Holding value: $5,997,470,000
- Percent of portfolio: 2.03%
Moody's (MCO (opens in new tab)) is a business and financial services firm best known for its Moody's Investors Service credit rating arm – one of the three major American business credit ratings agencies alongside Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings. It also offers financial analysis technology via Moody's Analytics.
MCO is a longtime, significant holding in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio – and an ironic one to boot.
"Uncle Warren" first dipped his toe in during the first quarter of 2001, and he has been content with his investment of late, leaving his 24.7 million-share stake unchanged over the past couple of years.
The funny thing about Berkshire's holding in Moody's is that Buffett said back in 2010 that "Our job is to rate credit ourselves. We do not outsource that to ratings agencies." Yet Berkshire Hathaway is the largest institutional holder of MCO, owning 13.5% of the financial firm. (Vanguard is a distant second at 7.5%.)
The holding is meaningful on Berkshire's end, too. At 2.03% of assets, Moody's is one of the top 10 Warren Buffett stocks.
- Shares held: 325,634,818
- Holding value: $10,859,921,000
- Percent of portfolio: 3.68%
Warren Buffett was one of the driving forces behind the 2015 merger of packaged-food giant Kraft and ketchup purveyor Heinz to create Kraft Heinz (KHC (opens in new tab)). It's Berkshire's seventh largest stock investment with a market value of nearly $11 billion.
But it has been a dog, and Buffett likely still regrets his participation in what was one of his biggest deals of the past decade.
Berkshire Hathaway recorded a $3 billion non-cash loss from an impairment of intangible assets in 2018, "arising almost entirely from our equity interest in Kraft Heinz," Buffett wrote in his 2019 letter to shareholders. In early 2019, KHC wrote down the value of its brands by nearly $15 billion. In 2020, Fitch downgraded the company's debt to junk status. Its second-quarter earnings beat expectations, but Kraft still had to record yet another $2.9 billion in impairments.
Kraft's operational performance has at least improved since then, and shares are holding up well amid this recent market rout. But KHC still has a lot of catching-up to do to shed its "dud" status in the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio.
"I was wrong (about KHC)," Buffett flatly admitted on CNBC in 2019. Buffett says he overpaid, and it's difficult to disagree. KHC's five-year annualized total return stands at -10.1% vs. a gain of 10.9% for the S&P 500.
Berkshire Hathaway is the company's largest shareholder with a 26.6% stake. Private investment firm 3G Capital – who teamed up with Berkshire in 2013 to purchase H.J. Heinz – owns 7.9%.
- Shares held: 158,549,729
- Holding value: $11,942,909,000
- Percent of portfolio: 4.05%
Warren Buffett has been absolutely hoovering up stock in Occidental Petroleum (OXY (opens in new tab)).
Berkshire bought more than 136 million OXY shares, or 14.6% of the integrated oil and gas company's shares outstanding, in Q1. It then bought an additional 9.6 million shares – worth about $530 million – in late June. Buffett added to the stake in July, buying another 4.3 million OXY shares worth $250 million.
For Q3 2022 as a whole, Buffett increased the position by 22%, or 35.8 million shares.
Berkshire also owns $10 billion worth of 8% preferred shares, as well as 84 million warrants to purchase OXY stock. Occidental shares must trade above the warrants' exercise price of $59.62 for the warrants to be in the money.
Including warrants and preferred stock that could theoretically be exchanged for common shares, Berkshire owns roughly a third of Occidental Petroleum. Naturally, the conglomerate's large and growing position in OXY is fueling speculation that Buffett could be eyeing a buyout of Occidental Petroleum (opens in new tab).
Like the rest of the industry, OXY is flush with cash, which it is returning to shareholders through dividends and buybacks – both of which Buffett loves.
- Shares held: 151,610,700
- Holding value: $20,453,800,000
- Percent of portfolio: 6.93%
American Express (AXP (opens in new tab)) continues to endure as one of Warren Buffett's favorite investments.
Buffett likes to say this his preferred holding period is "forever," and AmEx is one of the premier examples. Berkshire entered its initial stake in the credit card company in 1963, when a struggling AmEx badly needed capital. Buffett obliged, getting favorable terms on his investment. He has played the role of white knight many times over the years, including during the 2008 financial crisis, as a means to get stakes in good companies at a discount. (Think: Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.)
Berkshire Hathaway, which owns fully 20.3% of American Express' shares outstanding, is by far the company's largest shareholder.
Buffett praised the power of AmEx's brand at Berkshire's 2019 annual meeting. "It's a fantastic story, and I'm glad we own [so much] of it," he said. Of course he's glad: A roughly 1,000% total return over the past quarter-century would make most investors glow.
- Shares held: 400,000,000
- Holding value: $22,407,999,000
- Percent of portfolio: 7.59%
Buffett, an unabashed fan of Cherry Coke, started investing in Coca-Cola (KO (opens in new tab)) stock soon after the stock market crash of 1987. In his 1988 letter to Berkshire shareholders, Buffett said he expected to hold on to the stock "for a long time."
Three decades later, he has proven true to his word. Berkshire is KO's largest shareholder with 9.3% of its shares outstanding, and Coca-Cola remains among the most iconic of Buffett stocks.
Coca-Cola made a brief appearance as a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the 1930s. Shares were added back to the Dow in 1987, and they've remained a stalwart member ever since.
Coca-Cola's stock performance has been a lifesaver in an otherwise terrible 2022. Shares generated a total return of 5% for the year-to-date through Nov. 14, vs. a -16% total return for the S&P 500.
KO has also been an income investor's dream. The beverage maker has increased its dividend annually for 60 consecutive years.
- Shares held: 165,359,318
- Holding value: $23,757,173,000
- Percent of portfolio: 8.05%
And for a while, Buffett couldn't seem to make up his mind about whether he liked or loathed CVX. Now, however, it's abundantly clear that Buffett is a huge fan of the integrated energy major.
Berkshire Hathaway initiated a position of more than 48 million shares in the fourth quarter of 2020 valued at $4.1 billion. Although energy prices weren't expected to make huge moves in 2021 after a considerable rebound in late 2020, the outlook for oil and gas was much improved and expected to get better as the global economy recovered.
Chevron specifically was well positioned, as it took advantage of the worst of the industry's woes in July 2020 by acquiring Noble Energy in a $5 billion all-stock transaction. The company's scale, asset quality and reserves made it one of the healthiest players in an industry where a lot of players were on injured reserve. Also noteworthy was its standing as a Dividend Aristocrat (opens in new tab), with 35 years of uninterrupted dividend growth currently under its belt.
And yet, Buffett reversed course in Q1 2021. In addition to booting Suncor Energy (SU (opens in new tab)) from the portfolio, Berkshire jettisoned a little more than half of its CVX position, unloading 24.8 million shares. He followed that up by dropping another 550,000 or so shares, or 2%, in Q2, to bring the position down to 23.1 million shares.
Buffett, however, has come back with vengeance. He upped Berkshire's Chevron stake by 24% in the third quarter of 2021, by 33% in the fourth quarter, by more than 300% in Q1 2022 and by 1% in the second quarter of this year.
And he hasn't stopped yet. Buffett raised BRK.B's CVX stake by another 2%, or almost 4 million shares, in the third quarter of 2022.
CVX now makes up more than 8% of the Berkshire portfolio and is a top-three position.
Bank of America
- Shares held: 1,010,100,606
- Holding value: $30,505,039,000
- Percent of portfolio: 10.33%
Buffett spent most of 2020 and 2021 hacking and slashing at his various bank-stock holdings. But he remained as committed as ever to Bank of America (BAC (opens in new tab)).
Buffett's interest in BAC dates back to 2011, when he swooped in to shore up the firm's finances in the wake of the Great Recession. In exchange for investing $5 billion in the firm, Berkshire received preferred stock yielding 6% and warrants giving Berkshire the right to purchase BofA common stock at a steep discount. (The Oracle of Omaha exercised those warrants in 2017, netting a $12 billion profit in the process.)
Warren Buffett let go of 2.2 million BAC shares in Q4 2019, but that represented a mere 0.2% reduction. And while he cut heavily into various bank holdings in 2020, he actually added to Berkshire's already large position in Q3 of that year by snapping up more than 85 million shares.
The stake in BAC, worth $30.5 billion as of the end of Q3 2022, accounts for 10.33% of the holding company's total portfolio value. Meanwhile, Berkshire is Bank of America's largest shareholder, at 12.6% of its shares outstanding.
- Shares held: 894,802,319
- Holding value: $123,661,679,000
- Percent of portfolio: 41.89%
Warren Buffett's love affair with Apple (AAPL (opens in new tab)) continues.
During the first quarter of 2022, Berkshire used a brief dip to tack on another 3.8 million shares, or 0.3%, to its already massive holdings. And honestly, Buffett wishes it had been even more.
"Unfortunately the stock went back up, so I stopped," he told CNBC following the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting. "Otherwise who knows how much we would have bought?"
Happily for Berkshire shareholders, Buffett got a second chance in Q2, picking up another 3.9 million shares in AAPL when the price slumped.
Buffett has said that "I think of [Apple] as our third business." It might as well be. The tech giant represents more than 40% of the assets in the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio. And Berkshire is Apple's third-largest investor with an 895 million-share stake representing about 5.6% of its shares outstanding. Only Vanguard and BlackRock – giants of the passively managed index fund universe – hold more Apple stock.
The Oracle of Omaha has only occasionally dabbled in technology stocks. But he bought Apple with two fists, and he's more than happy to discuss his ardor for AAPL. As he has said more than once on CNBC, he loves the power of Apple's brand and its ecosystem of products (such as the iPhone and iPad) and services (such as Apple Pay and iTunes).
"It's probably the best business I know in the world," Buffett said a year ago. "And that is a bigger commitment that we have in any business except insurance and the railroad."
It's been an exceptionally fruitful investment for Buffett and Berkshire shareholders. AAPL stock has generated a five-year annualized total return of 29.5%. That triples the performance of the broader market over the same span.
Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.
A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.
Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.
In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics and more.
Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.
Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.
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By Karee Venema • Published
Best AI Stocks to Buy: Smart Artificial Intelligence Investments
tech stocks AI stocks have been bloodied up in recent months, but the technology's relentlessly growing importance should see the sun shine on them again.
By Tom Taulli • Published
Stock Market Today: Stocks End the Week on a High Note
Intel stock plunged after a big earnings miss, but encouraging inflation and consumer sentiment data created tailwinds for the broad market.
By Karee Venema • Published
Stock Market Today: Stocks Climb After Tesla Earnings, GDP
The electric vehicle maker reported record profit and revenue for the fourth quarter.
By Karee Venema • Published
The 5 Best Actively Managed Fidelity Funds to Buy Now
mutual funds In a stock picker's market, it's sometimes best to leave the driving to the pros. These Fidelity funds provide investors solid active management at low costs.
By Kent Thune • Published