Warren Buffett is undeniably the most closely watched, highest-profile investor in modern history. After all, no one boasts a superior track record of outperforming the S&P 500 Index, than he. Not surprisingly, investors relentlessly clamor to match his success by analyzing his portfolio, hoping to absorb even a tiny morsel of Buffett's investment genius.
Despite his unparalleled success, Buffett's investment model has always been transparent, straightforward, and consistent. Fundamentally, he invests in fairly-priced, high-dividend paying blue-chip companies that feature strong balance sheets. Buffett buys such stocks, with the intent to hang onto them over the long haul. The following five companies exemplify the types of investments housed within Buffett's holding company, Berkshire Hathaway.
Comprising 23.84% of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, Apple Inc. (AAPL) represents Buffett's largest holding, with a whopping 249 million shares in the tech giant, as of November 2019. Currently worth approximately $65 billion, in 2018, Apple surpassed Wells Fargo to capture the #1 spot after Berkshire Hathaway purchased additional shares of the Steve Jobs-founded company in February of that year.
Bank of America
With more than 927 million shares to his name, Buffett's second-largest holding is in Bank of America (BAC), valued at $27 billion and comprising 12.57% of his portfolio. Buffett's interest in this company began in 2011 when he helped solidify the firm's finances, following the 2008 economic collapse. Investing in Bank of America, which is the nation's second-largest bank by assets, falls in line with Buffett's attraction to financial stocks, including Wells Fargo & Company and American Express (see below).
The Coca-Cola Company
Buffett once claimed to consume at least five cans of Coca-Cola per day, which may explain why the Coca-Cola Company (KO) stock is his third-largest holding. But one thing is for certain: Buffett appreciates the durability of the company’s core product, which has remained virtually unchanged over time, with the exception of the ill-fated "New Coke" formula rebranding, in the mid-1980s. This makes sense, given that Buffett started buying Coca-Cola shares in the late 1980s, following the stock market crash of 1987. Presently with 400,000,000 shares, valued at $21,776,000,000, Coca-Cola accounts for 10.12% of his portfolio.
Wells Fargo & Company
At 8.87% of his portfolio, Buffett currently holds 378 million shares of Wells Fargo & Company (WFC), valued at over $19 billion. Although this is Buffett's fourth-largest position, Wells Fargo previously occupied the top slot for many years. A series of scandals that began in 2016, including the creation of millions of dummy bank accounts, unauthorized modifications to mortgage plans, and the fraudulent sale of unnecessary car insurance, has hurt the bank's reputation.
American Express is the third financial services company to make Buffett's top five list, occupying 8.34% of the portfolio. With 151 million shares, valued at nearly $18 billion, Buffett acquired his initial stake in the credit card company in 1963, when it sorely needed capital to expand its operations. Buffett has since been a savior to the company, many times over, including during the 2008 financial crisis. With a 12.5% average annual return over the past quarter-century, American Express has proven to be a valuable asset.