A:

The investing strategies of Warren Buffet, the billionaire investor dubbed the Oracle of Omaha, have long been the focus of admirers and competitors alike. His immense wealth comes from the shares he owns in Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), the holding company he has helmed since the 1960s. Because Buffett owns 23% of the economic interest of Berkshire, examining the shares owned by the company is the easiest way to see what stocks Buffett thinks are worth investing in.

There are several ways that investors may want to slice and dice the list of Berkshire Hathaway’s, and by extension Warren Buffett’s, holdings: value of shares held, the percentage stake in the company the holding represents, and the number of shares held.

Holding Value

As of July 2014, the value of publicly listed shares held by Berkshire Hathaway exceeded $100 billion. Its largest holding was in Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), a financial firm, with its 463 million shares valued at $23 billion (as of July 2014). Its second largest holding is in The Coca-Cola Company (KO), a global beverage manufacturer, with 400 million shares valued at $15.7 billion. Its third largest holding is in American Express Company (AXP), a global financial company, with 151 million shares valued around $13.3 billion.

Largest Stake

Investors may also consider the size of the stake Berkshire owns in each company. It has a 30% stake in USG Corporation (USG), a building material manufacturing and distribution company; a 17.5% stake in DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. (DVA); a 14.3% stake in American Express Company; and an 11.5% stake in Moody’s (MCO).

While the 30% stake Berkshire has in USG Corporation represents a substantial commitment, the value of these shares is only 1% of the value of all of the public companies that Berkshire has investments in.

Number of Shares Held

All told, Berkshire owns more than 1.6 billion shares in publicly traded companies. Sixty percent of the shares – over one billion – are concentrated in three companies: Wells Fargo & Co. (463 million shares), The Coca-Cola Company (400 million shares), and American Express Company (151 million). These three companies also happen to represent the three companies that have the highest value in Berkshire’s portfolio, coming in at $52.6 billion.

RELATED FAQS
  1. How does Warren Buffett choose the companies he buys?

    Investors have long praised Warren Buffett’s ability to pick which companies to invest in. Lauded for consistently following ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Why did Warren Buffett invest heavily in Coca-Cola (KO) in the late 1980s?

    Warren Buffett found Coca-Cola an attractive investment because it had a moat and was attractively valued. Buffett began ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why does Warren Buffett largely avoid investing in the technology sector?

    Warren Buffett has often said that he avoids investing in the technology sector because he does not like to own stocks in ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why doesn't Warren Buffett own Apple (AAPL) stock?

    Warren Buffet claims he simply does not know how to properly evaluate Apple (AAPL) and does not feel confident in his reading ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why would a value investor consider the Internet sector?

    Value investors may find significant opportunity in the Internet and tech sectors. The greatest value investor of them all, ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Why are stock buybacks so controversial?

    A stock buyback describes a situation in which a company repurchases shares of its own stock from the marketplace. Similar ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    Warren Buffett's Best Buys

    The Oracle of Omaha's "Rip van Winkle" approach has served him well. Read on to learn more.
  2. Insurance

    Warren Buffett's Bear Market Maneuvers

    This esteemed investor rarely changes his long-term investing strategy, no matter what the market does.
  3. Active Trading

    What Is Warren Buffett's Investing Style?

    Learn the main principles that Warren Buffet uses in assessing a company. His take on value investing may surprise you.
  4. Investing Basics

    Warren Buffett Biography

    Warren Buffett is probably one of the top investors in the world.
  5. Investing Basics

    What's a Holding Company?

    A holding company is a corporation that owns enough voting stock in another company to control its management and policies.
  6. Stock Analysis

    Warren Buffett's Latest Bet: The Riskiest Yet?

    Warren Buffett just made the biggest — and possibly riskiest — acquisition of his career.
  7. Professionals

    Are Stock Buybacks Always Good for Shareholders?

    Stock buyback programs aren't always done with the interests of shareholders in mind. It's important to try to understand the motivation behind such moves.
  8. Economics

    How & Why Companies Become Monopolies

    Without competition, monopolies can raise prices and lower quality leaving consumers little choice. But monopolies can benefit consumers as well.
  9. Investing News

    Five Wildly Successful Value Investors

    Warren Buffett is not the only investor who has benefited tremendously from adopting Graham's approach to investing.
  10. Investing

    Seven Investing Books For Your Summer Reading List

    It’s almost 4th of July, the season of summer reading. Picking up a book during your holiday can be a great opportunity to learn more investing.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Warren Buffett

    Known as "the Oracle of Omaha", Buffett is Chairman of Berkshire ...
  2. Hunting Elephants

    The practice of targeting large companies or customers.
  3. Multibank Holding Company

    A company that owns or controls two or more banks. Mutlibank ...
  4. Holding Company

    A parent corporation that owns enough voting stock in another ...
  5. Buffett Rule

    A tax rule proposed in 2011, by President Barack Obama, stating ...
  6. Billionaire

    An individual who has assets or a net worth of at least one billion ...

You May Also Like

COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!