Warren Buffett's biggest stock investments

After declaring equities safer than bonds and gold, the billionaire sets an example with several purchases.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 15, 2012 12:38PM

By Robert Holmes


Warren Buffett recently said stocks will outperform gold and bonds, calling them the safest asset by far. He's putting Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.B) money where his mouth is, buying up shares of DirecTV (DTV) and IBM (IBM).


In a Fortune article published last week, Buffett offered investors a preview of his upcoming annual shareholder letter. Buffett said equities will "prove to be the runaway winner," with the Oracle of Omaha talking down investments in gold and bonds. Regarding the latter, Buffett said bonds are a dangerous asset because they are currency-based and exposed to interest-rate risk.


During the fourth quarter, Buffett put some cash to work and bought several stocks. The billionaire opened a new position in dialysis services company DaVita (DVA), acquiring about 2.7 million shares, as well as Liberty Media (LMCA).


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Buffett also added to several of his existing positions, notably purchasing 22.3 million shares of Wells Fargo (WFC), one of his favorite picks. That brings his total share count in Wells Fargo to 383.7 million, with a market value of $10.6 billion, making it Berkshire's third-largest disclosed holding. Coca-Cola (KO) remains Berkshire's largest position with a market value of nearly $14 billion.


Professional investors who manage more than $100 million, like hedge funds and mutual funds, are required to disclose their equity holdings, options and convertible debt on a Form 13F filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission within 45 days of the end of a quarter. Funds aren't required to report short positions betting on declines. Berkshire ended the fourth quarter with 34 reported holdings with a market value of $66.1 billion.


Buffett doesn't always publish his holdings in so-called 13F filings. If he's building a stake in a company, he uses a loophole to opt out of disclosure regulations. But once his holdings are released publicly, people tend to follow him, pushing up share prices.


According to Tuesday's filing, Buffett added to several other positions, including IBM (IBM), DirecTV, CVS Caremark (CVS), Visa (V), General Dynamics (GD), Intel (INTC), and Verisk Analytics (VRSK).


IBM and Intel were notable picks for Buffett in the third quarter, becoming the first technology buys for Berkshire. Buffett had avoided investing in technology companies because he said they're difficult businesses to predict. Buffett's entry into IBM is based on the company's service offerings, which are more predictable and conducive to his value-investing strategy. IBM is Berkshire's second-largest holding, with a market value of $11.7 billion as of Dec. 31.


DaVita and DirecTV were top picks by Ted Weschler, the hedge fund manager who recently closed up Peninsula Capital Advisors to join Berkshire Hathaway.


Buffett did unload some shares during the fourth quarter, notably dumping his entire stake of 421,000 shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM). He also reduced his stakes in Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Kraft Foods (KFT), selling 8.4 million and 2.7 million shares, respectively. Kraft remains Berkshire's sixth-largest holding by market value while Johnson & Johnson ranks ninth.

Feb 15, 2012 3:43PM

Gee, I hope Warren is going to pay more taxes on his earnings next year like he wants the rest of us to do. 


He never said he wants the rest of us to pay more in taxes, unless by "us" you mean fellow billionaires.  Way to put words in the guy's mouth.

Feb 15, 2012 11:35PM
Eric,yes we term limits to clean out the dead wood. The ones in office for so long are the ones who got our country to this point. BROKE!
Feb 15, 2012 11:14PM

Cracks me up.  So many losers critiquing Warren Buffet like he was their personal trashcan.

But one of his employees set the record straight that he pays his loyal people loyally.  He

learned his trade and dun good at it.  You naysayers learn your trade (of being a critical piece of @#$%).  And are very successful at your endeavor.  freeking hate mongers.  Just the kind

to put the US in their own trash can.

Feb 15, 2012 10:01PM
@ jarheadret

I still work for one of his biggest OWNED companies, every year we get a check still for how much percent profit we made and that percentage is how much of annual salary we get back each year..... as for benefits besides that  best business health insurance around, base pay rises every year, retirement never decreases due to they uses vanguard for his companies, we get 2 weeks paid sick,2 weeks paid vacation, 2 personal days, 4 free holiday vacation days (not to mention on holidays we make 2.5 times regular pay), plus some!!! ok so theres no xmas bonus (big whoop this is still recession)... Every year warren buffet comes to our location and gives gifts and tells the commoners all thank you for the work they do.... he even bought a franchise fast food restaurant and built across the street so his employees could get discounts on food!    i do not agree with the way he is towards family members (watch a movie called 'the one percent' for explanation) but he is a damn fine money maker and business man and you would be smart to jump on his band wagon for stocks when he says buy you buy and when he sells you sell...... this is not his first rodeo, he has been doing this since you were in pampers!!!!           p.s.- being angry towards him and saying you "retired" sounds kind of like you got fired.      educate your self about his companies before you speak and blame your own company for there downfall it is not him its your Pres.,V.P., CEO, CFO, COO, etc..... **** rolls downhill   he buys companies, he does not run them!!!!
Feb 15, 2012 11:32PM

Its hard not to be a skeptic when every time you turn around you find out about some other rip off by some bank or insider information. Theres a problem with jobs,but anyone with half a brain could have figured out that in the long run if you sent all the jobs overseas for cheap labor it would cause major problems here later.There should be new laws to keep jobs and money here!we cant compete with such cheap labor,and they cant afford to buy our products,free trade dosent work!

  All these so called smart people and look what shape the country is in,and our dept.

Feb 15, 2012 5:54PM
Warren wants you to run out and bid up his stocks so he can sell them and give you yet another Haircut
Feb 15, 2012 1:41PM

"Warren Buffett recently said that stocks will outperform gold and bonds."


While it's certainly true that CERTAIN stocks will outperform gold and bonds, it is ALSO true that Mr. Buffett invests in gold and bonds as well as in stocks.


I think that I will do as he DOES and not, wholeheartedly, as he SAYS.

Feb 15, 2012 11:10PM
Warren knows that even losses are beneficial......you know "write-off's.....loo​se a little here and there, gain a lot here and there......it's the game.
Feb 15, 2012 7:18PM

Buffet started out with pin ball machines he filed his first taxes at like 14 or younger.  This is not an ordinary man he is one of a kind.  You can hate him or you can love him.  I just take it like it is.  Of course I respect him for making so much he is as far as I can see honest or at least hasn't been caught.


But to dislike him because of his politics no way I like him because he is a smart business person.  I also think we would do well in listening to him over listening to the pundits who only what to win they are not interested in the country.  Buffet has my respect because he has shown that he can run a business without taking down the country.

Feb 15, 2012 11:36PM
hey tarzan646___uhh...warren buffett sold his california home last year and its a nice home not a 25 million dollar mansion.  and he didnt live there...they stayed on occassion over holidays but not often. know what your talking about before  running your mouth.   google "warren buffett sells california home- and find the story in the omaha world herald.  
Feb 15, 2012 6:02PM
Sounds like there is a lot of jealousy out there  LOL
Feb 15, 2012 8:28PM
Yeah? Well, Warren can BE bullish on stocks. He didn't lose enough of his butt in the last two created downturns to lose his retirement and have to return to work. This is the usual crap put out by Wall Street and supported by the media.
Feb 15, 2012 7:09PM
There is one concept Warren Buffett knows intuitively very very well. That concept is regression toward the mean. All the jealous and naive losers who envy him fail to grasp what a simple concept regression toward the mean is. That is why losers buy high and sell low consistently. Then the whining fools want to blame Mr. Buffett for something they don't understand and are probably not even able to conceive. Mr. Buffett has on average been a winner year after year, while the sore losers just keep on loosing their shirts. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa, I can hear all the whiners crying because the didn't buy when the DOW was 25% below the 100 year trend line. You can be sure they will be crying even louder when they start buying when the DOW is 40% above the long-term trend line.
Feb 15, 2012 11:12PM
I see all the teapubs are here railing against Mr. Buffett,because he is smater and probably richer then they are. Of course they would be here on msn money because it's all they care about. Money is the only thing worth living for is the way they think.  I'm glad to see most americans are seeing through their BS.Their love of money far exceeds their love of country..
Feb 15, 2012 4:47PM
Its always the fool that is so critical of the great investor. Listen up-----------Better for people to think you a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Feb 18, 2012 2:27PM
Bull Rider - Before you mouth off about Buffett, you might want to gather a few facts about Buffett - he still lives in the same house he bought more than 40 years ago, does not have a corporate jet, has the same wife as always, vacations sparingly, has no mansions or penthouse apartments, and drives his own car to work.

He donates 5% of his wealth to charity every year, and has bequeathed his remaining fortune to charity when he leaves to meet his Maker.

Looks like the bull you ride is mostly the smelly hot brown stuff kind, 'cause your comments are full of it.
Feb 15, 2012 5:19PM
hmmmm...don't see a lot of windmills and car batteries in his portfolio...
Feb 15, 2012 10:15PM
Warren Buffet could make all kinds of bad investments, and he's still be richer than snot.
Feb 15, 2012 5:37PM
Question is, when is he going to pay the $1 billion in back taxes his corporations owe?
Feb 15, 2012 5:51PM
Owning 14 billion dollars worth in Coca-Cola knowing that all that sugar will lead you to dialysis. Great move buy DaVita!
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