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Top 5 Positions in Warren Buffett's Portfolio

Warren Buffett is undeniably the most famous and influential investor in modern history, based on his extraordinary performance record. Not surprisingly, the investment portfolio of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A), the holding company employing the Oracle of Omaha as chairman and CEO, receives wide media attention and scrutiny, even though Buffett is no longer making every investment decision.

Despite his unparalleled success, Buffett's investment model has long been transparent, straightforward, and consistent. He invests in large, blue-chip companies with strong balance sheets and attractive valuations. Buffett often invests for the long term, but he's never been afraid to make significant new investments or drop longtime holdings. He and his team showed that in early 2022 with a big bet on Chevron Corp. (CVX), while dropping Wells Fargo & Co, (WFC)—a stock Berkshire Hathaway had owned since 1989. Here are the top five stocks in Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio as of March 31, 2022.

Key Takeaways

  • Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway holds a portfolio of blue-chip U.S. stocks valued at $390.5 billion as of March 31, 2022.
  • The portfolio's five largest positions are Apple Inc. (AAPL), Bank of America Corp (BAC), American Express Company (AXP), Chevron, and The Coca-Cola Company (KO).
  • Apple is Berkshire's largest holding, accounting for nearly 41% of its stocks portfolio.
  • The top 5 holdings account for nearly 70% of the portfolio.
  • During Q1 2022, Buffett dramatically increased Berkshire's holdings of Chevron while liquidating the remainder of a longstanding position in Wells Fargo.

1. Apple 

Apple, the maker of iPhones, is by far Berkshire Hathaway's largest stock holding at $159.1 billion as of Q1 2022, accounting for nearly 41% of its stocks portfolio and for 5.5% of Apple's outstanding shares.

Berkshire Hathaway acquired the stake between 2016 and 2019 for less than $35 million.

By early 2018, Apple had supplanted Wells Fargo as Berkshire Hathaway's top stock.

In the first quarter of 2022, Berkshire Hathaway sold the last of its Wells Fargo stake, which was worth $25.2 billion four years earlier.

2. Bank of America

Berkshire Hathaway's second-largest holding is Bank of America, with a stake valued at $42.6 billion accounting for 10.9% of the portfolio as of Q1 2022. Berkshire Hathaway held 12.5% of the bank's shares outstanding.

Buffett acquired 700 million of the 1 billion Bank of America shares Berkshire Hathaway now holds in 2017 at about $7.14 per share in exchange for warrants Berkshire Hathaway received when it made a $5 billion investment in the bank's preferred stock in 2011.

3. American Express

Berkshire Hathaway's $28.6 billion stake in financial services provider American Express accounted for 7.3% of its portfolio and 20.1% of American Express shares of Q1 2022.

The stake dates back to 1994, when Buffett acquired AmEx stock in exchange for warrants from a $300 million preferred stock investment that returned 64% over three years. Berkshire Hathaway has significantly increased its American Express stake over the past decade. 

4. Chevron

Buffett dramatically increased Berkshire Hathaway's stake in Chevron to $25.9 billion during Q1 2022, making the integrated oil giant his company's fourth-largest holding as of quarter end. Chevron shares accounted for 6.6% of Berkshire Hathaway's equity securities portfolio, while Berkshire's stake amounted to 8.1% of Chevron's outstanding shares.

Buffett started buying Chevron in the third quarter of 2020, and Berkshire Hathaway reported a $4.5 billion stake as of year-end 2021.

"Chevron is not an evil company in the least and I have no compunction about owning Chevron," Buffett said at Berkshire Hathaway's 2021 shareholders meeting when asked about Chevron's role in climate change. 

5. Coca-Cola

Buffett famously consumes five 12-ounce servings of Coke per day, and once said he is "a quarter Coca-Cola" based on the drink's share of his caloric intake. Berkshire Hathaway makes do with a Coca-Cola stake of $24.8 billion, representing an allocation of 6.4% in its stock portfolio. That accounts for 9.2% of Coca-Cola's outstanding stock.

After Buffett began accumulating the position in 1988, he said he planned to hold it "for a long time" in the next letter to shareholders. "In fact, when we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever," Buffett wrote.

Buffett, who turned 91 on Aug. 30, 2021, began his career in the early 1960s. As he aged, many investors and analysts grew concerned about the absence of a formal succession plan at Berkshire Hathaway. At the company's 2021 shareholders meeting, Buffett said he expects to be succeeded as CEO by Greg Abel, head of the company's Berkshire Energy Holdings power and natural gas distribution subsidiary.

Which Are the Top 10 Stocks Berkshire Hathaway Owns?

Warren Buffett runs the Berkshire Hathaway holding company, which, in turn, is a major shareholder of a number of large public companies. After the top five listed above, Berkshire's next largest public company investments include The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC), Moody's Corp. (MCO), Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY), U.S. Bancorp (USB), and Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI). In addition to its stakes in publicly listed companies, Berkshire Hathaway owns subsidiaries including GEICO Insurance, BNSF Railways, Duracell, and International Dairy Queen Inc., among many others.

Which Railroad Does Warren Buffett Own?

BNSF Railways (formerly Burlington Northern Santa Fe) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Which Insurance Companies Does Warren Buffett Own?

Berkshire owns several insurance companies including GEICO, Cypress Insurance, General Re, Berkshire Hathaway Re, National Fire & Marine Insurance Co., and National Indemnity Co.

What Is the Origin of Berkshire Hathaway Name?

The Berkshire Hathaway name originated with the 1955 merger of Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates of Adams, Massachusetts, and the Hathaway Manufacturing Company of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Buffett began accumulating Berkshire Hathaway shares in 1962 and bought the company outright in 1964. He had agreed to sell his stock to management, only to discover that the tender offer's price was below that he had been promised. "This made me mad," Buffett has recalled. He bought the first insurance business for Berkshire Hathaway in 1967 and closed the company's last textile mill in 1985.

Article Sources
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  9. The Wall Street Journal. "Bank of America Corp. Company Profile."

  10. CNBC, "Warren Buffett Just Made a Quick $12 Billion on a Clever Bank of America Investment."

  11. Yahoo Finance. "American Express Company, Top Institutional Holders."

  12. The New York Times. "Buffett Quietly Amasses 10% Stake in Amex."

  13. Yahoo Finance. "Chevron Corporation Top Institutional Investors."

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  15. Yahoo Finance. "Warren Buffett: 'Chevron's not an evil company in the least'."

  16. Fortune. "Warren Buffett’s Secret to Staying Young: 'I Eat Like a Six-Year-Old'."

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  18. Yahoo Finance. "The Coca-Cola Company Top Institutional Holders."

  19. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. "1988 Shareholder Letter."

  20. CNBC. "When Warren Buffett Eventually Is No Longer Berkshire Hathaway CEO, Greg Abel Will Succeed Him."

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  24. CNBC. "Warren Buffett: Buying Berkshire Hathaway Was $200 Billion Blunder."

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