The Complete Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio

Four times a year, holding companies of a certain size are required to divulge their positions in equities. That’s a great thing for followers of Warren Buffett, widely considered the greatest long-term investor of all time. His company, Berkshire Hathaway (ticker: BRK.B, BRK.A), which he still helms at the ripe old age of 90, owns a sprawling equities portfolio that directly reflects what stocks Buffett likes.

Although investors don’t have an up-to-the-minute reflection of what Berkshire owns, the company’s mid-May 13F filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reveals the complete Berkshire Hathaway portfolio as it stood at the end of March.

Why Follow Berkshire Hathaway Stock Picks?

There’s a reason Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting is considered such a Wall Street occasion. Before the pandemic, upward of 40,000 people would flock to the humble town of Omaha, Nebraska, just to hear sage wisdom from the elderly duo of Buffett and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, now 97.

Part of the reason is that the two share an easy rapport with one another, and each is witty and entertaining in their own way. But tens of thousands of people weren’t making the trek to Nebraska to see an Abbott and Costello routine.

People closely watch the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio for a simple reason: The long-term track record of Berkshire Hathaway is absolutely unparalleled. In the 55 full years between 1965 and 2020, Berkshire Hathaway stock compounded at a 20% annualized rate compared with a 10.2% annualized return for the S&P 500. To illustrate the power of compounding, that amounted to a 2,810,526% return for Berkshire shareholders compared with a 23,454% return for investors in the S&P 500.

For every $10,000 invested in Berkshire back in 1965, investors would have $281.06 million by the end of 2020. S&P 500 investors would have $2.36 million. Returns like that simply can’t be generated by a lucky hand.

What Stocks Is Berkshire Buying and Selling?

Buffett’s extreme long-term bias is part of what makes him an excellent investor — it’s an edge few other investors have the patience or temperament for. When Berkshire agreed in 2015 to make its largest-ever acquisition, paying $32.1 billion for total ownership of industrial giant Precision Castparts Corp., he brushed off concerns over a bear market in energy prices as myopic, telling CNBC, “we’re going to be in this business for 100 years. …”

Another famous nugget of wisdom from Buffett is his quip that his favorite holding period is “forever.”

All that’s to say that when Berkshire makes changes to its portfolio, it tends to carry weight.

There was only one new addition to Berkshire Hathaway’s stock holdings in the first quarter:

Aon PLC (AON). This Dublin-based insurance broker was the only new addition to Berkshire’s portfolio last quarter, and despite the stake being worth about $1 billion, it was a relatively timid purchase by Berkshire’s standards. Berkshire Hathaway has more than $145 billion in cash on hand.

When it comes to sales, however, the financial holding company was a bit more active. Here are the five stock holdings Berkshire decreased by 25% or more in the first quarter:

Merck & Co. (MRK); sold 37% of its stake. It’s not exactly clear why the company decided to ditch a meaningful chunk of its investment in pharma giant Merck, especially since the company had actually been adding to its Merck position as recently as the fourth quarter of 2020.

Axalta Coating Systems (AXTA); sold 40% of its stake. While slashing its stake in specialty chemicals company Axalta Coating Systems sounds like a major move, it shouldn’t be taken out of context. AXTA only makes up about 0.2% of the larger portfolio, so it’s simply not going to move the needle much. This may simply be part of a longer-term exit strategy; selling all shares of the $7 billion company at once may have risked crashing the stock price.

Chevron Corp. (CVX); sold 51% of its stake. Last year, Berkshire famously made a total exit from airline stocks in an uncharacteristically ill-timed pivot out of an industry struggling with unique pandemic-related struggles. Perhaps it has learned from those mistakes, waiting for rebounding energy prices to sell more than half of its position in global oil major Chevron.

Liberty Global PLC Class A (LBTYA); sold 81% of its stake. Yes, selling 81% of communications and entertainment company Liberty Global sounds like a big move, but again, it made up less than 0.2% of Berkshire’s portfolio. Buffett and other high-level Berkshire investment managers must think there’s likely to be a better use for its capital. Don’t be surprised if this particular stock disappears from the portfolio in coming quarters.

Wells Fargo (WFC); sold 98% of its stake. The biggest sale both on a percentage basis and in terms of being newsworthy is the almost total liquidation of Wells Fargo, a longtime major holding of Berkshire. Buffett stuck with the bank in the wake of its fake accounts scandal, but the stock has underperformed for years in the wake of that mess. With recent increases in interest rates, WFC stock has rallied fiercely higher, and Berkshire seized the opportunity to sell. Expect a total liquidation in coming quarters.

Zooming Out: Characteristics of Berkshire Hathaway Holdings

Although Berkshire Hathaway’s stock portfolio, worth nearly $300 billion, is composed of 48 different positions, it’s not quite as diversified as you might expect for a grouping of four dozen stocks.

In fact, concentrated bets on companies Buffett’s highly confident in is a big part of what has made him such a fabulously successful investor over time. It’s harder to be concentrated with the massive sum of money Berkshire controls, but it’s doing a good job regardless: Its top 10 holdings make up more than 85% of Berkshire’s portfolio value. And its single largest position, Apple ( AAPL), makes up 40% of its portfolio.

In terms of sectors, the huge bet on Apple means information technology is the most heavily represented sector, constituting about 40% of the portfolio; financial companies accounted for 31% of the portfolio, while consumer staples were the last to crack double digits at 13%.

Here’s a look at the complete Berkshire Hathaway portfolio:

Company Shares Held Value
AbbVie Inc (ABBV) 22,868,178 $ 2,655,452,829
Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) 533,300 $ 1,708,202,564
American Express Company (AXP) 151,610,700 $ 23,783,170,509
Aon PLC (AON) 4,096,146 $ 1,037,185,129
Apple Inc (AAPL) 907,559,761 $ 113,835,220,822
Axalta Coating Systems Ltd (AXTA) 13,887,037 $ 436,886,184
Bank of America Corp (BAC) 1,032,852,006 $ 43,792,925,054
Bank of New York Mellon Corp (BK) 74,346,864 $ 3,833,324,308
Biogen Inc (BIIB) 643,022 $ 182,097,400
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY) 31,032,227 $ 2,080,710,820
BYD Co. Ltd (BYDDF) 225,000,000 $ 4,855,500,000
Charter Communications Inc (CHTR) 5,213,461 $ 3,610,426,012
Chevron Corporation (CVX) 23,672,271 $ 2,464,756,857
Coca-Cola Co (KO) 400,000,000 $ 21,848,000,000
DaVita Inc (DVA) 36,095,570 $ 4,423,151,148
General Motors Company (GM) 67,000,000 $ 3,800,240,000
Globe Life Inc (GL) 6,353,727 $ 670,127,587
Itochu Corporation (ITOCF) 81,304,200 $ 2,444,817,294
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) 327,100 $ 55,921,016
Kraft Heinz Co (KHC) 325,634,818 $ 14,370,264,518
Kroger Co (KR) 51,060,296 $ 1,868,296,231
Liberty Global PLC Class A (LBTYA) 3,359,831 $ 92,126,566
Liberty Global PLC Class C (LBTYK) 7,346,968 $ 201,159,984
Liberty Latin America Ltd Class A (LILA) 2,630,792 $ 36,199,698
Liberty Latin America Ltd Class C (LILAK) 1,284,020 $ 17,847,878
Liberty Sirius XM Group Series A (LSXMA) 14,860,360 $ 620,568,634
Liberty Sirius XM Group Series C (LSXMK) 43,208,291 $ 1,795,736,574
Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC) 5,287,526 $ 720,055,291
Mastercard Inc (MA) 4,564,756 $ 1,678,004,306
Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) 17,882,388 $ 1,415,927,482
Mondelez International (MDLZ) 578,000 $ 36,622,080
Moody’s Corporation (MCO) 24,669,778 $ 8,113,396,589
Procter & Gamble Co (PG) 315,400 $ 43,525,200
Restoration Hardware Holdings, Inc (RH) 1,756,448 $ 1,064,284,537
Sirius XM Holdings Inc (SIRI) 43,658,800 $ 259,769,860
Snowflake Inc (SNOW) 6,125,376 $ 1,429,601,505
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) 39,400 $ 16,348,636
StoneCo Ltd (STNE) 10,695,448 $ 672,636,725
Store Capital Corp (STOR) 24,415,168 $ 821,570,403
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA) 42,789,295 $ 471,538,031
T-Mobile Us Inc (TMUS) 5,242,000 $ 713,174,100
United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) 59,400 $ 12,585,078
US Bancorp (USB) 147,315,527 $ 8,893,438,365
Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF (VOO) 43,000 $ 16,403,210
Verisign, Inc. (VRSN) 12,815,613 $ 2,837,248,562
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) 158,824,575 $ 9,038,706,563
Visa Inc (V) 9,987,460 $ 2,264,856,304
Wells Fargo & Co (WFC) 675,054 $ 30,971,478

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The Complete Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio originally appeared on usnews.com

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