Berkshire Hathaway Stock Holdings and Investment Ideas

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 |  Includes: AHBIF, ANTM, AXP, BAC, BNI, BRK.A, BRK.B, CDCO, CMCSA, COP, COST, GCI, GE, GHC, GSK, HD, IR, IRM, JNJ, KMX, KO, LOW, MCO, MDLZ, MTB, NKE, NSC, PG, SNY, STI, TMK, TT, UNH, UNP, UPS, USB, USG, WBC, WFC, WMT, WSC
by: The Sun

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) filed its first quarter 13-F with the SEC last week. From the filing, you may find a few investment ideas from where Buffett is putting his money, as noted by Morningstar. At the end of the first quarter, Berkshire held a total of 41 stocks in its equity portfolio, with American Express (NYSE:AXP), Coca Cola (NYSE:KO), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Kraft Food (KFT), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) being the largest holdings.

Company Symbol
American Express AXP
Anheuser Busch BUD
Bank of America BAC
Burlington Northern Santa Fe BNI
Carmax KMX
Coca Cola KO
Comcast Corp CCS
Comdisco Holding CDCO
ConocoPhillips COP
Costco Wholesale COST
Gannett GCI
General Electric GE
GlaxoSmithKline GSK
Home Depot HD
Ingersoll-Rand IR
Iron Mountain IRM
Johnson & Johnson JNJ
Kraft Foods KFT
Lowe’s Companies LOW
M & T Bank MTB
Moody’s MCO
Nike NIKE
Norfolk Southern NSC
Procter & Gamble PG
Sanofi Aventis SNYNF
SunTrusts Banks STI
Torchmark TMK
Trane Inc TT
US Bancorp USB
USG Corporation USG
Union Pacific UNP
United Parcel Service UPS
UnitedHealth UNH
Wabco Holdings WBC
Wal-Mart Stores WMT
Washington Post WPO
Wells Fargo & Co. WFC
Wellpoint WLP
Wesco Financial Corp. WSC
Click to enlarge

Though no new stock was added to the portfolio, nor was any eliminated during the first quarter, Buffett did make a few adjustments, most notably the increased stakes in two railroad companies, Burlington Northern (BNI) and Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP), because comparing to auto or air, railroad offers an attractive, and energy efficient, way to transport goods. In addition, Berkshire also increased positions in two of the nation’s largest banks, Wells Fargo and US Bancorp, as bank shares hit multi-year lows in the first quarter, as well as healthcare and consumer products company Johnson & Johnson, after selling stakes in the last quarter of 2008.

At the same time, Berkshire Hathaway has trimmed positions in Carmax (NYSE:KMX), whose share price has jumped nearly 50% in the first quarter, and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), which used to be one of Berkshire’s largest holdings but suffered a lot last year as crude oil price dropped some 70% from its peak of $145 last summer, contributing to BRK’s worst quarterly loss in nearly two decades.

Actually, when you look at Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio, you will notice that itdon’t change much quarter over quarter, or even year over year. Buffett is an example of what the buy-and-hold investing strategy really means because some of the stocks have been in Berkshire's portfolio for decades. However, there are arguments that the buy-and-hold method is dead as the stock market has experienced big ups and downs lately, giving stock pickers opportunity to profit from the swings. The stock market has essentially become a trader’s market.

Yes, the buy-and-hold may make my portfolio look bad in a down market, such as the one we have seen since October 2007. But the stock market and economy work in cycles and they will eventually recover. When they do recover, my portfolio will benefit greatly from what I bought now. So I still buy and hold.