Warren Buffett’s 11 Best Stocks of the Bear Market

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) puts up market-clobbering returns over the long-term, but more recently it's been a struggle.

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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B (opens in new tab)) puts up market-clobbering returns over the long-term, but more recently it's been a struggle. There's no sugar-coating it: The Oracle of Omaha has had a rough ride through the current bear market.

The S&P 500, which has recovered somewhat from the depths, was down 18.8% from the February market top through April 8. The average return across all of Warren Buffett's stocks, however, has been a loss of 28.0%.

The Berkshire Hathaway portfolio was built to deliver market-beating return over the long haul, not thrive in a global pandemic. Many of Buffett's best stocks of late are growthier plays that have turned tail. He's hardly alone in that, but particularly damaging has been Uncle Warren's vast holdings in financials, one of the market's worst sectors so far. His ownership stakes in major airline stocks have likewise been gashed.

Some of Berkshire's holdings, however, have held up considerably better than the overall market – and a number of them are newer positions, including a few stocks Buffett and his lieutenants picked up just last year.

Here are Warren Buffett's 11 best stocks of the bear market. Some of these stocks are tried-and-true, old-school value names you typically associate with the famed investor. A few of them, however, exemplify Berkshire's slow but sure shift toward more modern businesses.

Price and yield data is as of April 8. Percent of portfolio as of Berkshire Hathaway's SEC Form 13F filed Feb. 14, 2020, for the reporting period ended Dec. 31, 2019. Data from Berkshire's Form 13F and WhaleWisdom (opens in new tab). Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent payout and dividing by the share price.

Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer, Kiplinger.com

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.