- Berkshire Hathaway’s public stock holdings at the end of Q3 2014 stood at $107.8 billion, a $4 billion increase from the end of 2013.
- The holding in Wells Fargo and Co, at $24 billion continued to be Warren Buffett’s top holding, making up 22% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio.
- The Oracle of Omaha continued holding on to his 15 year old investment in Coca Cola, accounting for 9% ownership of the beverage giant.
Buffett's portfolio has swelled to $107.8 billion with shareholdings spread across 45 companies. 2014 saw the addition of Charter Communications and Verizon Communications among others, even as Buffett exited Deere and Co and Starz, and declared Tesco as a big mistake. We today look at the top stock trades of the greatest investor made through the first three quarters of 2014.
Warren Buffett has a large, if not the largest number of followers who strictly adhere to Buffett’s investment advice. The Oracle of Omaha has been the poster boy of value investing and his portfolio (Berkshire Hathaway’s holdings) is widely followed in the investing community.
Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio overview at the end of Q3
Wells Fargo, Coca Cola, IBM, American Express and Wal Mart made up over 65% of Berkshire's public holdings portfolio at the end of Q3.
Wells Fargo (WFC) continued to be the top stock holding, making up 22% of Berkshire’s portfolio with a value of $24 billion. Berkshires holdings in the bank equate to 8.9% of the $280 billion market cap of Wells Fargo. The stock has been one of the major value drivers for Berkshire in 2014, having gained 21.6% in the year to date. Wells Fargo has solidly outperformed rivals like Bank of America (up 12%), Citigroup (up 3.8%) and JP Morgan chase and Co (up 5.1%) over the same time period. The stock is Buffett's favourite banking stock and has been a part of his portfolio for close to 25 years. (See: Wells Fargo stock chart)
Another of Buffett's long time love has been the opener of joy, Coca Cola (KO). The stock has been a part of Buffett's treasure chest for 26 years and made up 16% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio at the end of Q3. The 4 million shares held in the portfolio account for over 9% of the beverage giant. Warren Buffett has often referred to the stock as one among 'The Inevitables' and has gone on record saying he could hold this stock for many more years to come. The Coca Cola stock has gained 8% in the last one year. (See: Coca Cola stock chart)
International Business Machines
International Business Machines (IBM) is the third largest position in Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio. Berkshire holds 70 million shares valued at $13.4 billion, making up 8.9% of the overall market capitalization of IBM. Warren Buffett began buying stake in IBM over three years ago, in March 2011. The stock is down 3% since that time, compared to 56% gain in S&P 500. The Oracle of Omaha stated in an interview to CNBC:
"It's fair to say that I know less about the future of IBM than I might know about the future of Wells Fargo or Coca-Cola or the [other] businesses we own. I think I do know enough of it to still feel good about owning the stock."
See: IBM stock chart
American Express Company
American Express Company (AXP) was the fourth largest holding in Berkshire's portfolio for 2014, with the holding valued at $ 13.3 billion at the end of Q3. Berkshire holds 70 million shares, making up 14.1% ownership of American express. Warren Buffett has often emphasized the importance of a powerful worldwide brand for sustained success. He classifies American Express in this list of powerful brands, according to a post on Wallstcheatsheet.com. (See: American Express stock chart)
WalMart (WMT) rounds up the top five stocks of 2014 with a holding value of $4.62 billion. The stake accounts for 1.7% of the retail giant and is up over 9% in the year to date. WalMart holding also contributes over $110 million in annual dividends to Berkshire Hathaway with a dividend yield of 2.2%. (See: Walmart stock chart)
Warren Buffett’s 2014 stock picks
The Oracle of Omaha added the following stakes during 2014:
|Name of issuer||Number of shares||Value ($)||% of portfolio||Year to date|
|Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)||15 M||749.9 M||.70%||-4.25 %|
|Charter Communications (CHTR)||4.95 M||749.3 M||.70%||18.7 %|
|Now Inc (DNOW)||1.83 M||55.52 M||.05%||-17.9 %|
|Express Scripts Holding Company (ESRX)||0.45 M||31.75 M||.03%||14.6 %|
|Liberty Media Corp Delaware (Class C)||8 M||375.92 M||.35%||NA|
Now Inc and Liberty media corp (Class C) stakes were not directly purchased. Now Inc shares were acquired due to a spin-off of Now Inc from National Oilwell Varco Inc. The shareholders of National Oilwell varco Inc were issued 1 share of Now Inc for every 4 shares held by them. The Liberty Media class C stake was acquired through a stock dividend in early July on account of holding 4 million Class A shares.