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So What Exactly Is Warren Buffet Investing In Anyway?

Legendary investor Warren Buffett often leads news headlines with his views on the economy and business world. In this post, we’ll dig into where those ideas translate into actual dollars invested. Specifically, we’re going to have a look at Berkshire Hathaway’s equity portfolio to understand the sectors and stocks he’s holding and buying.          

First, let’s talk about Berkshire’s biggest holdings. A $52 billion investment in Financials is the biggest single sector in the Berkshire portfolio, representing almost 45% of total equity assets.* Overall, they hold 12 different stocks in the Financials sector, largest of which is Wells Fargo. The $26.9 billion investment in the San Francisco-based bank represents over 23% of Berkshire’s total portfolio. Other large stakes include American Express ($11.2 billion) and U.S. Bancorp ($3.6 billion), to name a few.

But given Buffet’s very long-term style of holding stocks for years if not decades, an even more interesting question is what is he buying for Berkshire Hathaway? Based on the most recent data available, we see his big recent buy was more than doubling his holding in Philips 66 to a position that is now valued at $5.1 billion.* He’s also increased Berkshire’s holdings in Charter Communications by over 42% to a position now valued at $1.6 billion. A third recent addition was modestly increasing his holdings in U.S. Bancorp, which grew by about 1.5% to 85 million shares. 

Now that we have a feel for Buffett’s favorites, lets answer the elephant-in-the-room question- what doesn’t he like? Telecom is Buffett’s second least favorite sector, with a relatively paltry $696 million investment in the space focused almost entirely on Verizon Communications.* And what does he not invest in at all? Answer: Utilities. Exactly $0 in Berkshire’s equity portfolio.  

*Source: S&P Capital IQ. Most recent data available as of Oct 28, 2015.   This analysis is based on holdings reported primarily in Berkshire Hathaway’s 13F filing. It generally excludes assets that would not be included on the 13F such as wholly owned  Berkshire businesses, fixed income holdings, most foreign company stocks, cash, real estate, and several other asset classes.      

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