Energy Business

Ten Reasons Warren Buffett Bought So Much Exxon Mobil Stock

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) was just listed as a new holding of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-B). This is not just any new holding either. Its size was a whopping 40.089 million shares, which was valued at just over $3.4 billion at the end of the quarter. Buffett apparently picked his timing well because his stake has risen in value up to $3.73 billion as of now.

24/7 Wall St. wanted to get into the mind of Warren Buffett to see why he bought such a large position here for Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A). We often evaluate Buffett actions, and we have been doing this for a while.

Here are the ten less obvious reasons that Buffett bought such a large stake, and we listed the full Berkshire Hathaway stock holdings as well.

The first reason is that Exxon Mobil Corp is simply the easiest oil and gas stock to hide out in. Compare this to his ambitions in CononoPhillips and Phillips 66 and it is very clear. Exxon is worth $407 billion versus $90 billion for Conoco. Buffett could literally double the stake size of Wells Fargo through time and it would not even be a 10% stake at current prices.

The second reason Buffett bought Exxon Mobil is that it remains undervalued. He can make trade if he wants based upon our a recent break-out call, but the reality is that the stock might be at a higher multiple if it did not take so much money to move the needle. At $93.22, the consensus price target is $95.54 and some think it is going north of $100 soon.

A third reason may sound like a value continuation, but it is more specific. This mega-cap stock trades at only 12.5-times expected 2013 earnings. It also trades at about 11.6-times expected 2014 earnings.

A fourth calling is that this DJIA stock comes with a dividend yield of 2.8% for new buyers now. If you just pretend that Buffett’s price is where it was last quarter, Buffett might be getting closer to a 3% dividend yield. You know that Warren likes getting those dividend checks in the mail. Those dividends will keep rising too.

A fifth reason that Buffett wanted in on Exxon Mobil is that he can easily add shares to his position via options. He can collect a premium, hope the stock gets put to him, and suddenly he owns many more shares without ever telling a broker he bought more stock.

A sixth reason is that he has owned it before. It was a small stake and Buffett likely realized this is just a much easier stock to leg in and out of (again).

The seventh reason Buffett bought Exxon Mobil is that the oil giant keeps buying back billions of dollars worth of its own stock. We have seen this with the last earnings but it is simply an ongoing issue.

The 8th reason again overlaps on value, but it is a serious issue. Exxon’s oil reserves were shown to be worth some $2.2 trillion earlier this year. That is 5-times its market cap.

An almost-last last reason is that the company’s outlook to 2040 is an altruistic one, and it fits in with that “forever” outlook that Buffett likes to keep in mind. The company’s outlook includes all forms of energy, not just oil.

The tenth reason Buffett bought a huge stake in Exxon Mobil is a bit self-serving for us, but we think Team Buffett took our advice for free. We reminded him of Exxon being the among the best stocks for him to buy back in 2010. We have pointed to this numerous times since.

There are many other reasons that Warren Buffett would have been drawn into Exxon Mobil, but these are some of the ones that might take longer for readers to find other than listing all of the macro-trends that are obvious.