When you think of Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.B) equity portfolio, most of which was selected by Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, you very well might think of storied blue-chip stocks such as American Express (AXP), Coca-Cola (KO), and more recently, Apple (AAPL).
Oh, those are still major components in the Berkshire portfolio. But a deeper dive into Warren Buffett's stocks reveals a more complicated picture - and a few more surprising holdings.
Berkshire Hathaway held positions in 49 separate companies (across 52 different stocks thanks to firms with multiple share classes) as of the end of 2019, up from 46 during the third quarter. That's according to its most recent 13F regulatory filing, submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 14. But the portfolio of "Buffett stocks" isn't as diversified as the number might suggest. Some are new positions so small they equate to a pinky toe in the water. Other holdings are immaterial leftovers from earlier bets that the Oracle of Omaha has mostly exited, just not completely.
Nonetheless, Berkshire Hathaway's equity portfolio remains one of the best ways to identify which stocks legendary investor Warren Buffett feels are worth his time and attention - for the most part. Just remember: A few of these Buffett stocks were actually picked by portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, who many believe are the top candidates to succeed "Uncle Warren" whenever he decides to step down.
Here, we examine each and every holding to give investors a better understanding of the entire Berkshire Hathaway portfolio.
United Parcel Service
Shares held: 59,400
Holding value: $6,953,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.003%
United Parcel Service (UPS, $90.00), the world's biggest package delivery company, remains the most meager of Buffett stocks. At fewer than 60,000 shares, this is a rump position, leftovers, an odd lot - and it's worth considerably less than it was just three months ago.
Buffett entered his UPS position during the first quarter of 2006, purchasing 1.43 million shares worth about $113.5 million at the time. That comes to an average price per share of $79.38. However, UPS never grew to be a major part of Berkshire'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.
While Buffett occasionally can be fairly chatty about some of his more notable stock picks, he typically doesn't comment on BRK.B's buys and sells. There's no mention of United Parcel Service in CNBC's indispensable Warren Buffett archive. But one clue as to why UPS never became a bigger part of Berkshire Hathaway's holdings might be its underperformance. Since March 31, 2006, UPS shares have delivered a total return (price plus dividends) of 79%; the S&P 500 Index generated a total return of 170% in that same time frame. That includes a miserable past year that has seen UPS decline 17% while the S&P 500 has lost 10%.
Translation: UPS has been a bust.
NEW ADDITION: SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF
Shares held: 39,400
Holding value: $12,681,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.01%
He finally did it.
For years, Warren Buffett has been telling investors that one of the best ways to invest is to simply buy an S&P 500 index fund and keep a little something in Treasurys to help you sleep well in down markets. While good advice, it seemed a bit hypocritical coming from one of the market's most celebrated stock pickers. But in Q4 2014, Buffett finally took his own medicine and bought not one, but two, S&P 500-tracking exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF (SPY, $248.19) is one of those. It tracks the 500 components of the S&P 500 Index, and it does so for a song. SPY costs just 0.095% annually, or $9.50 on a $10,000 investment.
It still makes little sense for a guy who's known for beating the S&P 500 handily over the long-term to buy a fund such as the SPY. After all, an ETF merely tracks an index, and will actually underperform slightly once costs are included. But it's possible that Buffett really wanted to drive his longstanding point home.
SEE ALSO: The 12 Best ETFs to Battle a Bear Market
NEW ADDITION: Vanguard S&P 500 ETF
Shares held: 43,000
Holding value: $12,719,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.01%
The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO, $228.02) is essentially the same thing as the SPY, just cheaper. Both funds track the S&P 500's components, and both funds are extremely liquid. The VOO is just a little cheaper, at 0.03% annually, versus the SPY's 0.095%.
Berkshire's bets in these S&P 500 ETFs were tiny, however. Each stake represents less than one one-hundredth of a percent of Berkshire's equity holdings.
SEE ALSO: 15 Super-Safe Dividend Stocks to Buy Now
Shares held: 227,436
Holding value: $25,339,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.01%
Phillips 66 (PSX, $51.62) is the smallest of Berkshire Hathaway's energy-sector investments ... just one quarter removed from being its largest.
Buffett first bought shares in the oil-and-gas company in 2012. But despite having heaped praise on PSX in the past, Buffett has dramatically reduced his stake over the past year-plus. That started in Q1 2018, when he sold a whopping 35 million shares, reducing BRK.B's stake by more than 40%. But that didn't set off any alarm bells at the time. He pared his position to avoid regulatory headaches, and in fact, the purchaser of those shares was none other than Phillips 66.
"Phillips 66 is a great company with a diversified downstream portfolio and a strong management team," Buffett said at the time. "This transaction was solely motivated by our desire to eliminate the regulatory requirements that come with ownership levels above 10%."
But since then, Buffett has burned off Berkshire Hathaway's PSX holdings to a mere sliver. Even after the big sale back to PSX in the Q1 2018, BRK.B remained the company's largest shareholder with 9.8% of all shares outstanding. However, in the first quarter of 2019 alone, he pared Berkshire's stake by another 53%. He cut back in Q2 and Q3, too. The Oracle of Omaha took out the ax in the fourth quarter, hacking away his position by a whopping 95%. Now, Berkshire owns a mere 0.05% of the company.
Buffett has been characteristically mum on his reasons for the sales.
Shares held: 578,000
Holding value: $31,836,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.01%
Warren Buffett has never seemed all that enamored with Mondelez (MDLZ, $50.79), whose brands include Oreo cookies and Triscuit crackers. He shot down speculation in 2017 that Kraft Heinz would buy the global snacks giant. Mondelez's underperformance vs. the S&P 500 since its spinoff from Kraft probably hasn't improved Buffett's stance on the company, either.
Indeed, Kraft is how Berkshire got a hold of Mondelez in the first place. 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 (KHC).
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 accounts for just one one-hundredth of a percent of the total value of BRK.B's equity portfolio.
Nothing to see here, folks.
Procter & Gamble
Shares held: 315,400
Holding value: $39,393,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.02%
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.
That dream didn't last very 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.
This "Buffett stock" is almost phased out. Don't be surprised if Buffett dumps the remainder any time now.
Shares held: 312,379
Holding value: $42,780,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.02%
Few Buffett stocks are such natural fits as Travelers (TRV, $93.89), the blue-chip insurance giant. That's why many might be scratching their heads at Buffett's Q4 move to cut most of his stake.
Insurance, after all, is the holding company's core business. Berkshire Hathaway counts numerous insurer companies as wholly owned subsidiaries. Geico, General Re and United States Liability Insurance Group are just three companies BRK.B owns as part of its sprawling insurance empire. Warren Buffett's stocks also include another insurer we'll get to shortly.
Moreover, Travelers, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average with a decent dividend yield of 3.5%, has the kind of pedigree and income stream Buffett favors.
Berkshire Hathaway first took a position in Travelers in the third quarter of 2018, then boosted its stake by 68% in the fourth quarter, bringing its total to almost 6 million shares. But in Q4 2019, Buffett reduced his position by 94%, and now only holds a few hundred thousand shares. That's no small beer for Travelers, which previously counted BRK.B among its top 10 investors at more than 2%. Berkshire now holds just 0.12% of the company, putting it well outside Travelers' top 50 investors.
SEE ALSO: The 10 Best Vanguard Funds for 2020
Johnson & Johnson
Shares held: 327,100
Holding value: $47,714,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.02%
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, $134.17), like P&G, is another defensive Dow stock that has fallen out of favor with Buffett. (Kraft Foods, incidentally, also was a Dow stock for a time, from 2008 to 2012.) BRK.B's interest peaked more than a decade ago. Now, the diversified health-care giant represents nothing more than a token holding.
You can blame J&J's history of headline-grabbing faceplants. The health care stock 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 $46 million), which represents roughly 0.02% of shares outstanding. This is another holding that could disappear at any time - without making much of a difference, either.
Liberty Latin America
Shares held (Class A / Class C): 2,714,854 / 1,284,020
Holding value (Class A / Class C): $52,397,000 / $24,987,000
Percent of portfolio (Total): 0.03%
Berkshire has made several de facto bets on legendary pay-TV mogul John Malone. Liberty Latin America Class A (LILA, $9.55) and Liberty Latin America Class C (LILAK, $9.27) shares are the smallest of those.
Liberty Latin America provides cable, broadband, telephone and wireless services in Chile, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and other parts of Latin America. Liberty Global, 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.
As we'll see below, Berkshire has several other investments in Malone-backed enterprises. Malone, a pioneer in the telecom industry and a multibillionaire himself, has created outsize value for shareholders over his long career.
Whether the various investments are Buffett's ideas or those of his portfolio managers, the appeal is plain to understand: Game knows game.
SEE ALSO: The 20 Best Stocks to Buy for 2020
NEW ADDITION: Biogen
Shares held: 648,447
Holding value: $192,414,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.08%
Berkshire Hathaway already had a few health care holdings, and Buffett added to that number with his fourth-quarter entry into biotechnology giant Biogen (BIIB, $300.51). The roughly 650,000-share stake is worth more than $192 million.
OK. As far as Buffett stocks go, that's not a huge stake. The holdings account for less than a tenth of BRK.B's total equity portfolio. And at just 0.4% of total BIIB shares outstanding, Berkshire hasn't even cracked Biogen's top 25 investors.
Despite Buffett's history of health care bets, the small stake size indicates this investment might be the idea of lieutenants Ted Weschler or Todd Combs.
Biogen's fates are most heavily tied at the moment to its Alzheimer's treatment. Many expect the company to seek out FDA approval for aducanumab sometime early this year.
Right now, BIIB shares trade at just 9 times analysts' expectations for next year's earnings. Biogen also reliably generates several billion dollars each year in free cash flow. Both of those are traits that Buffett likely covets.
Shares held: 1,708,348
Holding value: $364,732,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.15%
Warren Buffett, who already is positioned in home furnishings retail via its Nebraska Furniture Mart subsidiary, added more exposure to the space with his Q3 2019 entry into RH (RH, $86.19), then made a considerable addition to his stake to close out the year.
RH, formerly known as Restoration Hardware, operates nearly 110 retail and outlet stores across the U.S. and Canada. It also owns Waterworks, a high-end bath-and-kitchen retailer with 15 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. Indeed, RH was growing at a nice clip. Months ago, management said it was accelerating its expansion plans to five to seven new stores a year, up from three to five new galleries annually. However, the coronavirus outbreak has since forced RH to furlough employees and slash spending.
Buffett typically doesn't comment on Berkshire Hathaway's holdings, and that's true for RH, so it's not certain exactly what attracted the Oracle of Omaha. It is possible this was a move made by Buffett lieutenant Ted Weschler or Todd Combs. But the stake fits broadly with Buffett's worldview. Buffett stocks tend to be bets on America's growth, which is exactly what a bet on housing and housing-related industries is.
That stake is 41% larger than it was a quarter ago, too. Berkshire added more than 500,000 RH shares in the fourth quarter of 2019, giving it a 9.1% stake that makes BRK.B the fifth-largest investor in the home retailer.
SEE ALSO: The 10 Best Value Stocks to Buy for 2020
Shares held: 43,249,295
Holding value: $423,843,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.18%
When Berkshire Hathaway revealed it took a stake in Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA, $8.40) in the fourth quarter of 2017, it looked like a classic Warren Buffett value move.
The Israel-based drug manufacturer was out of favor - to put it mildly. A bloated balance sheet, mass layoffs and the looming expiration of drug patents had short sellers licking their chops.
By the time Buffett stepped in, Teva shares were off about 70% from their mid-2015 peak. Berkshire then doubled his stake in Teva during the first quarter of 2018, when shares looked really cheap.
They look cheaper now. Shares are off 51% since the start of Q2 2018 and trade at just 3.5 times analysts' estimates for future earnings, which is a fraction of the S&P 500's forward P/E. Berkshire currently owns about 4% of Teva's shares outstanding.
Shares held: 15,019,031
Holding value: $492,624,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.20%
While Warren Buffett all but exited his stake in Phillips 66, he wasn't looking to get out of the energy sector altogether. In Q4, Berkshire also ramped up its stake in Suncor Energy (SU, $16.24), a rarity among Buffett stocks given that it's not U.S.-based.
If this bet on Canada's biggest oil-and-gas company sounds familiar, it should: When Buffett entered SU during the fourth quarter of 2018, that marked the second time Berkshire Hathaway has taken a stab at Suncor. The company originally invested in the energy giant in 2013, then sold the entirety of the position three years later. Suncor - an integrated energy giant whose operations span oil sands developments, offshore oil production, biofuels and even wind energy - also sells its refined fuel via a network of more than 1,500 Petro-Canada stations.
Berkshire increased its stake by 40% during the final quarter of 2019. It's still a small holding, representing about 0.2% of Suncor's shares outstanding, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Indeed, BRK.B is light on energy overall, with its three combined energy positions accounting for roughly half a percent of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. But the stake is meaningful to Suncor, as it represents roughly 1% of its shares outstanding.
And income investors, take note: Suncor is a member of the Canadian Dividend Aristocrats by virtue of having raised its annual dividend payouts for 18 consecutive years.
Restaurant Brands International
Shares held: 8,438,225
Holding value: $538,106,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.22%
Investors might be forgiven if they're unfamiliar with Restaurant Brands International (QSR, $33.27). After all, it's a pretty bland name.
But they surely know Canadian company's fast-food brands.
QSR was formed by the 2014 merger of Burger King and Tim Hortons. Three years later, the company acquired Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, making it the world's fifth-largest operator of fast food restaurants. It has since moved up to fourth.
So where does Warren Buffett come in? Berkshire Hathaway helped fund Burger King's acquisition of Tim Hortons by purchasing a combination of preferred shares and warrants. In a classic Buffett move, he was able to finagle a 9% yield from the preferred shares. QSR redeemed the preferreds in 2017, adding to Berkshire's cash pile.
BRK.B still owns 3.3% of the fast-food company's shares outstanding, making it QSR's ninth-largest investor at present.
NEW ADDITION: Kroger
Shares held: 18,940,079
Holding value: $549,073,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.23%
Berkshire Hathaway's recently announced stake of supermarket titan Kroger (KR, $32.29) is a little bit of a head-scratcher. Many long-term investors have soured on traditional supermarket chains in a world where Walmart (WMT), Amazon.com and other large firms are vying to rule the grocery space.
It's also something of a reversal from Berkshire's other new positions, which have been a little more forward-looking. Kroger is an old-economy value play, compared to tech and biotech buys such as Apple, Amazon, StoneCo and Biogen.
Nonetheless, Buffett initiated a 18.9 million-share, $549 million position that makes Berkshire the seventh-largest investor in Kroger at 2.4% of shares outstanding. And admittedly, it's not a home-run swing, at just 0.23% of BRK.B's total equity portfolio.
KR is at least positioned to give the likes of Amazon and Walmart a fight. The company has roughly 2,760 retail food stores operating under such banners as Dillons, Ralph's, Harris Teeter and its namesake Kroger, as well as 1,537 gas stations. In fact, it's one of the five largest retailers in the world.
SEE ALSO: 20 Best Retirement Stocks to Buy in 2020
Shares held: 14,166,748
Holding value: $565,112,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.23%
Berkshire Hathaway announced in October 2018 that it would take a stake in StoneCo (STNE, $17.82) as the Brazilian financial technology company went public. 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.
StoneCo provides software and hardware for companies to facilitate credit- and debit-card payments, and it's one of the "growthiest" Warren Buffett stocks without a doubt. Its third-quarter revenues doubled year-over-year to 414.1 million Brazilian reals, or $98.8 million. Adjusted net income exploded from just 5.7 million reals a year ago to 89.3 million reals, or $21.3 million.
While not necessarily in the Buffett stocks blueprint, StoneCo 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.
Berkshire holds 5.1% of the company's shares outstanding, making it StoneCo's sixth-largest shareholder.
Shares held (Class A / Class C): 19,791,000 / 7,346,968
Holding value (Class A / Class C): $450,047,000 / $160,127,000
Percent of portfolio (Total): 0.26%
Liberty Global Class A (LBTYA, $15.80) and Liberty Global Class C (LBTYK, $14.84) is another one of Berkshire's bets on communications and media companies whipped up by billionaire dealmaker John Malone.
Liberty Global bills itself as the world's largest international TV and broadband company, with operations in seven European countries. Berkshire's investment in the Class A shares dates to the fourth quarter of 2013. It picked up the Class C shares, which have no voting power, in the first quarter of 2014.
Rumors had the company buying Univision for $9 billion, but CEO Mike Fries shot that down during the company's most recent quarterly report. That said, Liberty Global does plan to extend its international partnership with Netflix (NFLX).
Between the Class A and Class C shares, Berkshire Hathaway owns a 3.7% stake in Liberty Global, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The holding company is Liberty's fifth-largest shareholder.
Shares held: 6,353,727
Holding value: $668,730,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.28%
Globe Life (GL, $63.93) - known as Torchmark up until just a few months ago - is a small holding for Berkshire Hathaway, but a natural Buffett stock. After all, it's a life and health insurance company, and various wholly owned insurance firms form the core of BRK.B's holdings.
Berkshire Hathaway has owned shares in Globe Life/Torchmark since early 2001. And while it's a boring company, it has quietly been a very good stock pick. Including dividends, GL has generated a total return of 345% since March 31, 2001, to roughly triple the S&P 500's performance including dividends.
BRK.B owns 5.8% of Globe Life's shares outstanding, which makes it the firm's third-largest shareholder after Vanguard and BlackRock (BLK).
Shares held: 18,621,674
Holding value: $693,471,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.29%
Berkshire's position in Store Capital (STOR, $14.58), which it entered during the summer of 2017, was an unusual one. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) - a way to invest in real estate without owning the actual assets - have never been big among Buffett stocks.
Store invests in single-tenant properties including chain restaurants, supermarkets, drugstores and other retail, service and distribution facilities. That is to say, Store is a bet on brick-and-mortar retail, which is thought to be in permanent decline.
Buffett, however, spied value - and he spied it for quite some time. Store Capital CEO Christopher Volk told CNBC that Buffett studied the REIT for three years before taking his position.
Berkshire Hathaway owns 18.6 million shares, which yields about 3.6% at current prices. It is Store Capital's second-largest shareholder after Vanguard.
Axalta Coating Systems
Shares held: 24,264,000
Holding value: $737,626,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.30%
Axalta Coating Systems (AXTA, $15.51), which makes industrial coatings and paints for building facades, pipelines and cars, is the belle of the ball when it comes to mergers and acquisitions suitors. The company has rejected more than one buyout bid in the past, and analysts note that it's a perfect target for numerous global coatings companies.
Axalta joined the ranks of the Buffett stocks in 2015, when Berkshire Hathaway purchased 20 million shares in AXTA from private equity firm Carlyle Group (CG). The stake makes sense given that Buffett is a long-time fan of the paint industry; Berkshire Hathaway bought house-paint maker Benjamin Moore in 2000.
Berkshire is Axalta's largest investor, holding 10.4% of the shares outstanding. Buffett has left the position unchanged since adding to it in the second quarter of 2018.
Shares held: 20,803,000
Holding value: $749,116,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.31%
Synchrony Financial (SYF, $13.25) jibes with Buffett's affection for credit-card companies and banks. Synchrony, a major issuer of charge cards for retailers, was spun off of GE Capital in 2014. It's both a lender and a payments processor - like Buffett's beloved American Express (AXP) - but it caters to customers who skew more toward the middle and lower end of the income scale.
Berkshire initiated a position in SYF during the second quarter of 2017, paying an estimated price per share of $30.02. Since the end of Q2 2017, the stock has lost more than half its value, versus a small 8% positive total return for the S&P 500 during that time.
BRK.B owns 2.7% of Synchrony Financial's shares outstanding, which makes it the firm's seventh-largest shareholder.
SEE ALSO: The 7 Best Financial Stocks for 2020
Shares held: 18,933,054
Holding value: $780,231,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.32%
Warren Buffett has now made three transactions in less than a year to bulk up a stake in Occidental Petroleum (OXY, $13.00).
Buffett invested $10 billion in the integrated oil-and-gas company in late April 2019 to help finance a $38 billion bid for exploration-and-production firm Anadarko Petroleum. In return, Berkshire received 100,000 preferred shares yielding 8%. The bid beat out a competing offer from Chevron (CVX) but irked fellow octogenarian billionaire Carl Icahn, who owns a 5% stake in OXY. He called the deal "hugely overpriced" and still is fighting to scuttle the deal.
Buffett became even further entrenched by sinking more than $330 million into OXY common shares in Q3, which could make Icahn's fight even more difficult. He then widened his stake by a whopping 154% in the final quarter of 2019, when he snapped up roughly 11.5 million more shares.
The stake remains a meager portion of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, which is notably light on energy overall. And that stake has become particularly problematic; a plunge in energy prices has hammered OXY shares and forced the company to cut its dividend.
Shares held: 5,382,040
Holding value: $913,602,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.38%
Warren Buffett has been a fan of M&T Bank (MTB, $91.67) for a very long time. Indeed, MTB has been a member in good standing of Berkshire Hathaway's equity portfolio since 2001.
The regional bank operates more than 750 branches in eight states, including New York, Maryland and New Jersey, as well as Washington, D.C., and it has been profitable year after year for decades. It also has been a reliable dividend payer. Buffett has a soft spot for well-run, unassuming businesses. And he frequently cites the importance of management talent when it comes to deciding where to invest. He certainly was a fan of M&T Bank's late CEO.
In 2011, Buffett recommended that Berkshire Hathaway shareholders read M&T's annual reports, which were written by Robert Williams, chairman and CEO from 1983 until his death in 2017. "Bob is a very smart guy and he has a lot of good observations," Buffett said.
M&T Bank represents a small portion of Berkshire Hathaway's equity portfolio, but BRK.B is a big holder of MTB. With 4.0% of shares outstanding, Berkshire is the bank's seventh-largest shareholder.
Shares held: 136,275,729
Holding value: $974,372,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.40%
Sirius XM (SIRI, $4.48) - a company that reaches more than 100 million listeners via its core satellite radio business and Pandora, which it acquired in 2018 - is another stock pick related to John Malone. Malone is chairman of Liberty Media, which owns a massive stake in Sirius XM.
As Kiplinger has noted, it's possible that all of Berkshire's investments in companies that are somehow tied to Malone's truly Byzantine corporate structure could very well be the responsibility of one of Buffett's portfolio managers. Liberty Media was a large position held by Ted Weschler's Peninsula Capital in his pre-Berkshire days.
Berkshire first bought shares in SIRI during the final quarter of 2016. Berkshire unloaded a small portion (1%) of its Sirius XM position during the third quarter. Still, its 3.1% stake makes it the company's second-largest shareholder after Liberty Media, which owns 71% of the shares outstanding.
Shares held: 537,300
Holding value: $992,844,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.41%
Amazon.com (AMZN, $1,906.59) is one of Berkshire Hathaway's splashiest new stock picks of the past year. The holding company disclosed its 483,300-share position after the first quarter of 2019, then added another 54,000 shares in Q2.
This one wasn't Buffett's idea, by his own admission. Before Berkshire Hathaway submitted its first-quarter 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)."
Buffett has long been an admirer of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, he admitted in an interview, and said he wished he'd 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 still is an insignificant shareholder, however, boasting about 0.1% of Amazon's shares outstanding.
Shares held: 42,500,000
Holding value: $1,218,900,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.50%
Update: Buffett reduced his bet on airlines in early April as the industry reeled from the coronavirus-led collapse in air travel. Berkshire disclosed share sales in two of his four airline stocks: Southwest and Delta Air Lines. There were no updates on Berkshire's stakes in American Airlines and United Airlines at that time.
Warren Buffett clearly isn't afraid to change his mind. In fact, perhaps his most surprising volte-face came in regard to the airline industry years ago. Buffett long excoriated the sector, calling it a "death trap" for investors.
"If a capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk back in the early 1900s he should've shot Orville Wright; he would have saved his progeny money," Buffett once wrote.
But airline stocks became Buffett stocks in 2016. That's when he started picking up stakes in four major carriers, including American Airlines (AAL, $9.39). Years of industry consolidation and Buffett's confidence in the U.S. economy's long-term dynamism finally made the time ripe for Berkshire Hathaway to buy.
"It's true that the airlines had a bad 20th century. They're like the Chicago Cubs. And they got that bad century out of the way, I hope," he told CNBC.
Berkshire Hathaway initiated a stake in AAL during 2016's third quarter. Buffett has been an incremental seller ever since to remain below the 10% ownership threshold that would trigger regulatory headaches, and that includes a 1.2 million-share sale in Q4 2019. Berkshire Hathaway holds 9.5% of the firm's shares outstanding, making it American's third-largest shareholder, behind Primecap Management and Vanguard. We'll find out in May how much of that stake remains.
Shares held: 4,333,363
Holding value: $1,273,662,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.53%
Costco (COST, $288.65) joined the ranks of the Buffett stocks a long time back - the first quarter of 2001, to be precise. It's not a particularly large holding, at just more than half a percent of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, but it seems to be a cherished one.
And unlike many Buffett stocks, the Oracle is happy to talk about Costco at length.
"Here (Kraft Heinz) are, 100 years plus, tons of advertising, built into people's habits and everything else," Buffett told CNBC in a February 2019 interview. "And now, (Costco's) Kirkland, a private-label brand, comes along and with only 250 or so outlets, does 50% more business than all the Kraft Heinz brands."
Indeed, Costco's Kirkland store-branded products are one of the warehouse retailer's biggest draws. Revenues from the Kirkland label totaled $39 billion in 2018 - more than 27% of Costco's overall annual sales, and about 50% greater than Kraft Heinz's total sales across 2018.
Berkshire's 4.3 million shares represent a roughly 1% equity stake in the company - not unsubstantial, but well outside Costco's top 10 institutional stakes.
PNC Financial Services
Shares held: 8,671,054
Holding value: $1,384,160,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.57%
Buffett first started investing in PNC Financial Services (PNC, $85.19), the nation's sixth-largest bank by assets and second-largest regional lender, during the third quarter of 2018. He upped Berkshire Hathaway's stake by another 4% in Q1 2019. The holding company is now PNC's ninth-largest investor with 1.9% of the bank's shares outstanding.
Buffett has long been comfortable with investing in the banking business. At the 1995 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, he said the industry "falls within our circle of competence to evaluate." And given Berkshire's extensive holdings in banks (we'll get to a few more momentarily), Buffett clearly sees a lot of value in this corner of the market.
Shares held: 4,934,756
Holding value: $1,473,469,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.61%
Warren Buffett gives credit where credit is due. While Berkshire Hathaway does indeed own Mastercard (MA, $237.03), he has nodded to his portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, and said he wishes he had pulled the trigger on the opportunity earlier.
"I could have bought them as well, and looking back, I should have," Buffett said about Visa (V) and Mastercard in 2018, referring to his own investment in American Express.
Mastercard, which boasts 926 million cards in use across the world, is one of several payments processors under the Berkshire umbrella. MA entered the portfolio during the first quarter of 2011, and given the stock's performance ever since, it's obvious why Buffett wishes Berkshire Hathaway owned more. Including dividends, MA shares have returned 888% since March 31, 2011 - several times better than the S&P 500's 127% total return over that same time frame.
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Shares held: 21,938,642
Holding value: $1,932,575,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.80%
United Airlines (UAL, $22.89) is one of the four major airline stocks that Buffett bought during the third quarter of 2016 when he surprised the market with his about-face on the industry.
As noted above with American Airlines, Buffett thinks air carriers today offer much better growth prospects than they did in the last century, which was a bloodbath for capital. But as also noted above, it's entirely possible that he has his short-term doubts, given his recently disclosed divestitures in his Southwest and Delta Air Lines positions.
Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio holds 8.5% of UAL shares outstanding, making it the airline's second-largest shareholder. Before the collapse caused by coronavirus, United's stock had delivered an annualized total return of about 15% since the end of Q3 2016.
Shares held: 10,562,460
Holding value: $1,984,686,000
Percent of portfolio: 0.82%
Visa (V, $151.85) 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). And like Mastercard, Buffett wishes Berkshire had bought more.
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 whopping annualized return of 28.1% since Sept. 30, 2011. It's also a dividend-growth machine, ramping up its payout by 114% over the past five years alone.
"If I had been as smart as Ted or Todd, I would have (bought Visa)," Buffett told shareholders at the 2018 annual meeting.
It's a modest but not insignificant holding at less than 1% of Buffett's portfolio. However, Berkshire's 0.5% stake in Visa doesn't even put it among the top 25 investors.
Liberty Sirius XM Group
Shares held (Class A / Class C): 14,860,360 / 31,090,985
Holding value (Class A / Class C): $718,350,000 / $1,496,721,000
Percent of portfolio (Total): 0.90%
Berkshire has managed to find a way to own Sirius XM in not one, not two, but three different ways.
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 enjoy in the performance of Liberty's Sirius XM investment directly rather than get it piecemeal through Liberty Media itself.
Thus, Buffett was exposed to Sirius XM before it directly invested in SIRI shares in Q4 2016. But over time, he has bought more of the tracking stock; the overall body of tracking stock currently represents Liberty's roughly 70% stake in Sirius XM. The Berkshire Hathaway portfolio now holds roughly 46 million shares of Liberty Sirius XM Group Series A (LSXMA, $27.10) and Liberty Sirius XM Group Series C (LSXMK, $27.25) combined.
Warren Buffett is the largest institutional shareholder in each class, holding 4.7% of Liberty Sirius XM's A shares, and 15.2% of the C shares. Combined with his SIRI stake, the Oracle of Omaha holds three different investments in Sirius XM.
Shares held: 12,952,745
Holding value: $2,495,735,000
Percent of portfolio: 1.03%
Stocks aren't good or bad in a bubble - one investor's brilliant purchase often is, depending on timing, another investor's biggest failure.
Take Verisign (VRSN, $182.69) - 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.
Stanley Druckenmiller, a famed former hedge fund manager, 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.
The Oracle of Omaha has had an entirely different experience.
Berkshire bought Verisign, whose dominance of the space exemplifies Buffett's love of deep moats, during a dip in the final quarter of 2012. The roughly 3.7 million shares were purchased at an average cost of $38.82 per share. VRSN has returned more than 370% since the end of 2012 - well more than triple the S&P 102's roughly 102% return including dividends.
Berkshire Hathaway now owns almost 13 million shares in the company, making it the largest institutional investor in Verisign at a 10.9% ownership stake.
Shares held: 5,426,609
Holding value: $2,632,339,000
Percent of portfolio: 1.09%
Charter Communications (CHTR, $433.80) is yet another Berkshire Hathaway portfolio holding 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.)
Charter Communications markets cable TV, internet, telephone and other services under the Spectrum brand, which is America's second-largest cable operator behind Comcast (CMCSA). It greatly expanded its reach in 2016 when it acquired Time Warner Cable and sister company Bright House Networks.
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 5.4 million shares as of Berkshire's most recent 13F. The move away from Charter meshed with a lousy 2018 for the stock, which lost 15% that year. However, Buffett dropped another fifth of his position in Q1 2019, then another 284,102 shares (4%) in the second quarter. That's unfortunate for Berkshire, given that CHTR shares finished the year with a 70% return.
The current stake represents a little more than 1% of Berkshire Hathaway's holdings, and a decent-sized 2.5% ownership in Charter.
Shares held: 75,000,000
Holding value: $2,745,000,000
Percent of portfolio: 1.13%
Warren Buffett first took a stake in General Motors (GM, $18.04), the world's fourth-largest auto manufacturer by production, in early 2012. And he must've seen something he liked. He upped Berkshire Hathaway's holdings during the fourth quarter of 2018, when he increased his position by 37%, then tacked on another 4% to his stake during 2019's final quarter.
Berkshire Hathaway now owns a cool 75 million shares on the dot, which is good for about 5.3% of the car company's shares outstanding. Berkshire remains the company's sixth-largest investor.
GM has always looked like a classic Buffett value bet. General Motors is an iconic American brand and a play on the long-term growth of the U.S. economy. Buffett also likes CEO Mary Barra, singing her praise on multiple occasions. At one point, he said, "Mary is as strong as they come. She is as good as I've seen."
General Motors hasn't really paid Buffett back, however. Berkshire paid an estimated average price per share of $31.82 when he initiated his position during the first quarter of 2012. Shares now trade in the high teens, widely underperforming the market in that time.
GM remains a value play, however. The stock trades at 4 times expected earnings, according to data from Refinitiv, and sports a dividend yield above 8%.
Shares held: 12,004,751
Holding value: $2,760,252,000
Percent of portfolio: 1.14%
Buffett trimmed several financial stocks during the fourth quarter of 2019, and Goldman Sachs (GS, $146.93) was among them.
Berkshire Hathaway first picked up its stake in Goldman during the 2008 financial crisis. Buffett paid $5 billion for preferred shares and warrants to purchase common stock. The preferred shares came with a dividend yield of 10% - almost twice the rate of some preferred stocks, which already are considered generous income plays.
Goldman redeemed its preferred shares in 2011. Berkshire bought another $2 billion in GS stock when it exercised the warrants in 2013.
Buffett has parlayed the original investment into what was a $3.8 billion, 5.1% stake in Wall Street's preeminent investment bank that made Berkshire its fourth-largest shareholder. Berkshire remains No. 4 despite selling nearly a third of its holdings during the fourth quarter of 2019, shrinking its stake to about 3.3%.
Shares held: 38,565,570
Holding value: $2,893,575,000
Percent of portfolio: 1.20%
DaVita (DVA, $65.52), which provides kidney care and operates dialysis centers, 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 a 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.
Berkshire hasn't done much with the position, standing pat on it for years. But it's still DaVita's largest shareholder, and by a wide margin. Its stake of 38.6 million shares accounts for more than 24% of DVA's shares outstanding.
Shares held: 51,334,964
Holding value: $1,567,769,801
Percent of portfolio: 1.20%
Southwest Airlines (LUV, $30.54) is part of the quartet of major airline stocks Buffett bought in late 2016. The discount carrier is beloved by its customers and employees alike, typically finding itself near the top of "Best Airline" and "Best Places to Work For" lists.
Berkshire Hathaway pared its position in LUV by 2%, or 1.2 million shares, during Q1 2019, but it wasn't a bearish signal. The selling was necessary to keep Berkshire's ownership stake below 10%, which would trigger regulatory hassles. While BRK.B stayed pat in Q4, the position bubbled up to 10.3% of the company's shares outstanding, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
That said, Buffett recently disclosed mid-quarter that Berkshire had cut its LUV stake by 4% in early April as shares reeled from the coronavirus-led collapse in air travel. BRK.B sold roughly 2.3 million Southwest shares for about $74 million. The sales brought Berkshire's ownership of LUV down to 9.9%, or less than the 10% regulatory threshold.
Bank of New York Mellon
Shares held: 79,765,057
Holding value: $4,014,575,000
Percent of portfolio: 1.66%
Bank of New York Mellon (BK, $33.75) isn't a household name, but it's a big deal in financial services. And Warren Buffett has been a fan for some time - despite what his fourth-quarter move might otherwise indicate.
Bank of New York Mellon is a custodian bank that 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 ninth-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. Warren Buffett last added to Berkshire's stake in BK during the fourth quarter of 2018, when he increased his holding company's investment by 3%, or more than 3 million shares. Buffett did trim his holdings in Q4 2019, but by a mere 1.2 million shares (a little more than 1%).
Berkshire retained nearly 80 million shares, however, translating to a still massive 8.5% stake that makes it BK's largest investor by a decent margin. (Vanguard is No. 2 at 6.7%.)
Delta Air Lines
Shares held: 58,900,759
Holding value: $1,324,089,062
Percent of portfolio: 1.71%
Delta Air Lines (DAL, $22.48), which was part of the group of air carriers he first picked up in the third quarter of 2016, looked like it might be Warren Buffett's favorite. That is, at least until coronavirus caused an industry-wide collapse.
In early April, BRK.B dumped 18% of its stake in DAL, just as the company said revenue will plunge 90% in the second quarter. The reduction came to almost 13 million Delta shares worth about $314 million.
It may have been something a shock to DAL investors who follow Buffett closely. BRK.B bought an additional 976,000 shares of Delta in late February, and in a mid-March interview with Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Andy Serwer, Buffett said, "I won't be selling airline stocks."
Note well that even after paring its holdings, BRK.B still owns 9.2% of DAL's shares outstanding.
Shares held: 24,669,778
Holding value: $5,856,852,000
Percent of portfolio: 2.42%
Moody's (MCO, $208.79) 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% of the financial firm. (Vanguard is a distant second at 6.6%.)
The holding is meaningful on Berkshire's end, too. At more than 2%, Moody's is a top-10 Buffett stock.
Shares held: 132,459,618
Holding value: $7,853,532,000
Percent of portfolio: 3.24%
U.S. Bancorp (USB, $31.19) was one of the financial stocks in the Berkshire portfolio to avoid the fourth-quarter scythe.
U.S. Bancorp is the nation's fifth-largest bank by assets and America's biggest regional bank. It'a also one of the oldest Buffett stocks in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio; the Oracle of Omaha initiated his position in the first quarter of 2006.
Buffett is notoriously tight-lipped about U.S. Bancorp, Barron's notes, but USB shares have been a solid pick. The lender has consistently generated the highest returns among the top 10 banks, and it has delivered a total return of 50% since March 31, 2006, versus fractional losses for the financial sector.
Warren Buffett most recently boosted Berkshire Hathaway's stake in USB during the second quarter of 2019, with a small addition of about 132 million shares. The position now accounts for 3.2% of the holding company's equity portfolio. BRK.B is the company's largest shareholder, at 8.4% of its shares outstanding. Vanguard, a large shareholder in many blue chips, is No. 2 with a 7.2% stake.
Shares held: 59,514,932
Holding value: $$8,296,382,000
Percent of portfolio: 3.43%
Berkshire Hathaway initiated a position in JPMorgan Chase (JPM, $84.05), the nation's largest bank by assets, during the third quarter of 2018 and boosted it a couple of times after that. BRK.B upped its stake by 40% in the fourth quarter of last year and again by 18% in the first quarter of 2019.
As noted, Buffett added to or started new positions in several American mega-banks and investment firms over the past couple of quarters. Berkshire's stake is now up to 1.9% of JPM shares outstanding, making it the company's fifth-largest shareholder.
Part of the attraction for JPMorgan is because of Warren Buffett's professed admiration for CEO Jamie Dimon. The two have partnered with Jeff Bezos, chairman and CEO of Amazon.com, to form a health care initiative intended to improve coverage and lower costs. Dimon and Buffett also have teamed up to decry the practice of giving quarterly profit forecasts, saying "short-termism is hurting the economy."
Shares held: 325,634,818
Holding value: $10,462,647,000
Percent of portfolio: 4.32%
Warren Buffett likely regrets his participation in what was one of his biggest deals of the past decade.
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, $25.32). It's Berkshire's sixth-largest stock investment with a current market value of $10.5 billion.
However, 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. And this year, Fitch downgraded the company's debt to junk status.
In a 2019 interview with CNBC, Buffett said "I was wrong" on KHC. Yup, he says he overpaid. Kraft's shares have lost 56% of their value on a total-return basis since Sept. 30, 2015. That includes a 21% plunge last year.
Berkshire Hathaway owns 26.7% of Kraft Heinz, making it the food company's second-largest shareholder, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Private investment firm 3G Capital - who teamed up with Berkshire in 2013 to purchase H.J. Heinz - is tops at 48.8%.
Shares held: 323,212,918
Holding value: $17,388,855,000
Percent of portfolio: 7.18%
Warren Buffett might be tiring of Wells Fargo (WFC, $26.23) the nation's fourth-largest bank by assets.
Wells Fargo, which has been in the Berkshire portfolio since 2001, has turned into a weight around Buffett's neck since 2016, when numerous scandals bubbled to the surface. The bank opened millions of phony accounts, modified mortgages without authorization and charged customers for auto insurance they did not need. The clean-up process has been slow, and claimed not one but two CEOs. WFC stock, meanwhile, has lagged its peers for quite some time.
Buffett has sold off WFC shares in all but one quarter since the start of 2018, including the final quarter of 2019. But most of the previous sales appeared to be routine paring on the position to keep it below a regulatory 10% maximum ownership threshold for banks. However, in Q4 2019, Buffett sold off more than 55 million shares, or nearly 15% of his position, to drop his stake to 7.3%.
Berkshire remains Wells Fargo's largest shareholder, though Vanguard, at 7.1%, is closing the gap.
Shares held: 151,610,700
Holding value: $18,874,016,000
Percent of portfolio: 7.80%
Buffett likes to say this his preferred holding period is "forever." Look no further than Dow component American Express (AXP, $73.60) to understand just how serious he is about investing for the long haul.
Buffett picked up his initial stake in the credit card company in 1963, when a struggling AmEx badly needed capital. Berkshire obliged, getting favorable terms on its investment. Buffett 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 18.3% of American Express' shares outstanding, is by far the company's largest shareholder. No. 2 Vanguard owns less than 6%. 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 18% of it," he said.
A 941% total return over the past quarter-century would make most investors glow.
Shares held: 400,000,000
Holding value: $22,140,000,000
Percent of portfolio: 9.15%
Coca-Cola (KO, $43.83) and American Express are among the most storied and celebrated Berkshire holdings.
Buffett, an unabashed fan of Cherry Coke, started investing in KO 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 9.4% of its shares outstanding.
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.
While Coca-Cola's stock performance hasn't impressed - its 116% total return over the past decade is well behind the S&P 500's 160% return - it has been an income investor's dream. The beverage maker has increased its dividend annually for 58 years.
Bank of America
Shares held: 925,008,600
Holding value: $32,578,803,000
Percent of portfolio: 13.46%
It should be clear by now that Buffett is bonkers for bank stocks. And while he sold off a little bit of his stake in Bank of America (BAC, $20.03), the nation's second-largest bank by assets remains the crown jewel of his financial sector holdings.
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 recently let go of 2.2 million BAC shares, but that represents a mere 0.2% reduction. The remaining stake of 925 million shares sits at roughly $32.6 billion in worth. Thus, BofA remains a big deal for Berkshire, at more than 13% of the portfolio. Meanwhile, Berkshire is Bank of America's largest shareholder, at just under 10% of its shares outstanding.
Shares held: 245,155,566
Holding value: $71,989,933,000
Percent of portfolio: 29.74%
Apple (AAPL, $241.41) is king of the Buffett stocks, even after a slight reduction during the final quarter of 2019.
The Oracle of Omaha has only occasionally dabbled in technology stocks, but he has gone all-in on Apple. And unlike many of his other holdings, Buffett has been 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).
"I do not focus on the sales in the next quarter or the next year," Buffett has said. "I focus on the ... hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of people who practically live their lives by (the iPhone)."
Buffett took his first bite in early 2016, and the iPhone maker has since become Berkshire Hathaway's single-largest holding. In fact, despite selling off roughly 3.7 million shares during Q4 2019, Apple accounts for nearly 30% of the total value of Berkshire Hathaway's equity portfolio. You can thank a red-hot run up until the end of the bull market for that.
At more than 245 million shares, BRK.B remains Apple's third-largest investor. The holding company owns 5.4% of all AAPL shares outstanding. Only Vanguard and BlackRock - giants of the passively managed index fund universe - hold more Apple stock.
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