Warren Buffett’s 4 Largest Holdings

May 9, 2016 by Jon C. Ogg

Warren Buffett square
Source: YouTube

Warren Buffett is one of the richest men in the world, and investors love to chase stocks his Berkshire Hathaway buys and sells. The old sage has to know a thing or two with the title “The Oracle of Omaha.” Buffett’s stock picks — particularly the largest stock positions held in Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio — always generate an interest.

24/7 Wall Street and its founders have tracked Buffett’s stocks for the better part of two decades. Buffett’s four largest stocks now account for the lion’s share of his portfolio — last seen worth some $130 billion.

These include Dow stocks like American Express, IBM, and Coca-Cola, as well as the mega-bank, Wells Fargo. Buffett’s 4 top stock holdings all have one thing in common — in each case, Berkshire Hathaway is the largest shareholder.

 

1. American Express

Buffett has owned American Express shares for decades now, and he is the credit card giant’s largest shareholder by far. Berkshire’s whopping 151 million shares makes up nearly 16% of the entire share count — and is equal to about three times the shares of the next largest holder. Currently, his part is worth $9 billion or more. If Buffett sold these, he would have to pay billions in capital gains taxes — enough that he doesn’t care that they are down so much from their highs.

2. IBM

IBM might be a sore topic for Mr. Buffett now, and so much for never buying a technology stock like in Buffett’s prior years. His stake in Big Blue has grown and grown in recent years – to over 81 million shares now. His 8% stake in IBM was worth about $11 billion in the first half of 2016. At least someone is a fan of IBM’s endless buybacks and financially engineered earnings!

3. Coca-Cola

Berkshire Hathaway owns a whopping 400 million shares of Coca-Cola, the same stake it has had for many years. This stake is about 9% of the whole share count, and was worth about $17 billion in 2016. Buffett started buying Coca-Cola in the 1980s, and Buffett’s cost basis must be nearing zero if you include the dividends. That means his yield is far greater than the 3% Coca-Cola shareholders get if they buy now.

4. Wells Fargo

Last but not least is Wells Fargo — Buffett’s largest stock holding of them all. Buffett holds close to 480 million Wells Fargo shares, with a street value of about $26 billion. Buffett is getting right up against that 10% stake limit as well. The secret here is that Buffett keeps buying more and more Wells Fargo shares. Maybe Buffett likes that they weren’t really behind the financial crisis like so many other big banks.

Ok, so what does it all add up to? All together, these 4 stocks have a street value close to $63 billion! That’s no chump change, even for the great Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway.