Major Changes Seen in Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Stocks for 2016

Wikimedia Commons

Warren Buffett has now released the official equity holdings of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) as of December 31, 2016. That makes this the official Buffett stocks for 2016, but we would advise readers that the stakes are already different from the latest 13F filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

24/7 Wall St. has followed the various changes from Buffett’s top stock holdings for many years now. We have also added detail on each of these changes, as well as added color on each of the pertinent holdings or added commentary on the value of those holdings through time.

Buffett’s total equity holdings are heavily concentrated in just a few top positions. That was previously concentrated among just four top holdings, but now there are actually five or six. His top holdings are listed as follows: credit card giant American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP); banking giant Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC); IT-services giant International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM); beverage giant Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO); food-giant Kraft Heinz Co. (NYSE: KHC); and refining giant Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX).

Because of all the changes that have been made in recent months, the reality is that the Buffett stocks for 2016 are going to look massively different from the Buffett stocks at the start of 2015 and 2014. This came to a whopping $131.855 billion in public equities alone that are listed in the United States.

The total public stock holdings from the full 13F-HR filing do not show the full dollars held in preferred shares — like its $3 billion invested in 2009 into preferred shares of Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) and like the $5 billion for preferred shares and warrants in Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) from back in 2011. Buffett also recently completed the $37 billion acquisition of Precision Castparts, making that position from the 13F filing no longer relevant.

American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) has remained the same 151.6 million shares for years now. Buffett has held these shares so long he probably worries about the capital gains tax he would pay more than he worries about how much the shares have fallen from their highs. Still, American Express has suffered handily so far in 2016.

Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) was the same number of about 400 million shares that it has been for many years. This stake dates back to when he started buying Coca-Cola in the 1980s. Buffett’s cost basis must be nearing zero, if you include the dividends.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) had been grown and grown, but the IBM stake was kept static at 81.03 million shares as of December 31. Maybe Buffett got tired of seeing this one go down lower and lower. This stake was about 79.5 million shares as of the end of last June, and the end of 2014 position was 76.971 million shares.

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) was listed as 479.7 million shares at the end of 2015, which is now higher than the stake of 470.29 million shares at the end of September. Buffett has grown his stake through time, but at a slower rate in the past year or so. At he gets closer to being a 10% holder, Buffett may be at the point that it is harder to grow that stake without more regulatory and more governance issues, particularly with a massive stock buyback.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) had previously been listed as a new stake for Berkshire Hathaway, with 59.32 million shares. The reality is that this was tied to the prior DirecTV stake. As of the end of 2015, the AT&T stake is SMALLER by 12.74 million shares to 46.577 million shares.

Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) was listed as a NEW STAKE, making Buffett interested more in the infrastructure side. This stake was listed as 26.533 million shares as of December 31. Maybe Jefferies seeing six reasons oil could rise in 2016 was not as far off as it seemed when it was reported.

Kraft Heinz Co. (NASDAQ: KHC) was listed as 325,634,818 shares. This stake is actually the same as the prior quarter, but it is a whopping $23.69 billion as of the end of 2015.

Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) was already a larger stake than what was represented at the end of 2015. This was last seen as a total of 75.55 million shares as of late last week, despite the new 13F filing showing a lower number. Based on current prices, that is more than $5.5 billion, and it is more than 10% of the Phillips 66 shares outstanding. This stake previously had been classified as an elimination in 2015 and then was shown after Buffett got the stake classified with the SEC as confidential.

The full list of additional Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway stock holdings as of December 31, 2015, is as follows:
Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. (NYSE: AXTA) was listed as a LARGER STAKE of 23.324 million shares at the end of 2015, a tad larger than the quarter before, after having been listed as a new position of 20 million shares.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK) was 20.112 million, roughly the same as the prior quarter but versus 24.6 million shares in the past.

Charter Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) was a larger stake at 10.281 million shares, after being 8.51 million shares, and having been viewed even lower prior to that. Charter was made a new stake in 2014.

Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. (NYSE: CBI) was ELIMINATED after having been made a smaller position in prior reports (1.983 million shares in September), down from 9.33 million shares last June and 10.701 million shares last March.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) was the same stake at 4,333,363 shares.

DaVita Inc. (NYSE: DVA) was the same stake at 38.565 million shares. This DaVita stake had been raised on and off in prior quarters, but Buffett had already entered into a standstill agreement not to buy more than 25% of the company.

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) was listed as 22.884 million shares, a LARGER STAKE by more than 5.8 million shares. This is interesting because it had been lowered to 17.052 million shares previously and 17.31 million shares that had been there in June and previously.

General Electric Corp. (NYSE: GE) was the same stake of 10.585 million shares. This stake had been raised in 2014 and had been telegraphed before because of the warrants.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) was the same stake of 50 million shares, but this had previously been raised from 41 million shares.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) was the same stake of 10.959 million shares, but this had been as high as 12.631 million shares prior to the end of 2015.

Graham Holdings Co. (NYSE: GHC) is what remains of Washington Post and was the same stake at 107,575 shares.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) was the same tiny stake of only 327,100 shares, but Buffett watchers know this is a leftover bit from a much larger stake in years past.

Lee Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: LEE) was the same tiny stake of only 88,863 shares.

Liberty Media Corp. (NASDAQ: LMCA) and Liberty Global PLC (NASDAQ: LBTYA) are both again listed as Buffett and Berkshire Holdings. but these are counted as Class A and Class C shares, so we will leave this stakes simplified just like that.

M&T Bank Corp. (NYSE: MTB) was the same position at 5.38 million shares — same as always.

MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA) was the same size stake of 5,229,756 shares.

Media General Inc. (NYSE: MEG) was the same sized stake at 3.471 million shares at the end of 2015. Just keep in mind that this was down from what had been a static position of 4.64 million shares.

Mondelez International Inc. (NASDAQ: MDLZ) is the same position again at 578,000 shares. This stake remains far lower than in the past.

Moody’s Corp. (NYSE: MCO) was the same position of 24.669 million shares yet again, but this is lower than in years past.

NOW Inc. (NYSE: DNOW) was the same stake of 1.825 million shares.
Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) has remained officially the same at almost 52.8 million shares in the formal 13F report. We expected it to be part of the Duracell swap, and the stake had also previously been lowered in 2012 after a peak of 96.3 million shares.

Restaurant Brands International Inc. (NYSE: QSR) was the same stake at 8.438 million shares, but it was a new stake in late 2014. The reality is that this is much larger:

On December 12, 2014, we acquired Class A 9% Cumulative Compounding Perpetual Preferred Shares of RBI having a stated value of $3 billion and common stock of RBI for an aggregate cost of $3 billion. RBI, domiciled in Canada, is the ultimate parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons. As of the acquisition date, our combined investment in RBI possessed approximately 14.4% of the voting interests of RBI. The RBI Preferred is entitled to dividends on a cumulative basis of 9% per annum plus an additional amount that is intended to produce an after-tax yield to Berkshire as if the dividends were paid by a U.S.-based company.

Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) was the same position at 3.905 million shares.

Suncor Energy Inc. (NYSE: SU) was kept static at 30 million shares, but this used to be a smaller stake (22.35 million shares last June). Suncor’s stake had been increased in late 2014, and it had grown each quarter from the 13 million shares in March of 2014.

Torchmark Corp. (NYSE: TMK) the same stake at 6.35 million shares.

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (NASDAQ: FOXA) was the same stake of 8.951 million shares at the end of 2015. Its stake had previously been raised from 6.228 million shares and was 4.747 million shares at the end of 2014.

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) was the same position of 85.06 million shares at the end of September, but that had been raised slightly in June from the 83.77 million shares at the end of March. That has grown from 80.09 million shares at the end of 2014.

USG Corp. (NYSE: USG) was the same stake at just over 39 million shares, but this had been raised prior to the end of 2014.

United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) was the same tiny position at 59,400 shares. The UPS stake is way down from 2012.

VeriSign Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN) was the same stake at 12.985 million shares, but this one had previously grown in 2014.

Verisk Analytics Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSK) was the same position at 1,563,434 shares, but that is lower than in prior quarters.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) was the same stake at 15 million shares at the end of December, but that had been raised a year earlier.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) was the same stake of 9.885 million shares, but the stake had risen throughout 2014.

WABCO Holdings Inc. (NYSE: WBC) is SLIGHTLY LOWER again at 3.331 million shares, down from 3.559 million shares at the end of September and from 3.78 million shares previously. At one point the stake was over 4 million shares.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was the same sized stake of 56.185 million shares at the end of 2015 as it was in September, but this had previously been lowered from 60.385 million shares at the end of June and had been raised prior to 2015.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.