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Warren Buffett is widely regarded as one of the most successful investors in the world. He is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, which averaged an annual growth in book value of about 20% to its shareholders for the last 44 years. Berkshire Hathaway stock had a total return of 76% from 2000 to 2010, versus a negative 11.3% for S&P 500.

We believe that by imitating the stock picks of the smartest investors such as Buffett, investors are more likely the beat the market in the long run. Here is the list of stocks that Buffett has been holding for at least the past two years:

Company

Ticker

Value (x 1,000)

YTD Return

COCA-COLA CO

(NYSE:KO)

13457999

10.65%

WELLS FARGO

(NYSE:WFC)

9886312

-21.11%

AMERICAN EXPRESS

(NYSE:AXP)

7838273

14.85%

PROCTER & GAMBLE

(NYSE:PG)

4880018

1.31%

KRAFT FOODS INC

(KFT)

3504245

10.96%

JOHNSON & JOHNSON

(NYSE:JNJ)

2835387

4.97%

CONOCOPHILLIPS

(NYSE:COP)

2789070

0.86%

WAL-MART STORES

(NYSE:WMT)

2074433

-2.15%

US BANCORP DEL

(NYSE:USB)

1761196

-9.71%

MOODY'S CORP

(NYSE:MCO)

1089725

23.71%

WASHINGTON POST

(WPO)

723848

-22.78%

M&T BANK CORP

(NYSE:MTB)

471749

-16.20%

COSTCO

(NASDAQ:COST)

352042

18.43%

USG CORP

(NYSE:USG)

244815

-52.92%

TORCHMARK CORP

(NYSE:TMK)

181124

-10.39%

SANOFI AVENTIS

(NYSE:SNY)

163238

6.20%

GENERAL ELECTRIC

(NYSE:GE)

146691

-10.09%

UNITED PARCEL SERVICE

(NYSE:UPS)

104232

-7.22%

GLAXOSMITHKLINE

(NYSE:GSK)

64800

11.46%

INGERSOLL RAND

(NYSE:IR)

28881

-29.79%

GANNETT INC

(NYSE:GCI)

24920

-37.52%

COMDISCO HOLDING

(OTCQB:CDCO)

9583

-31.35%

Three top positions on the list of Buffett’s long-term stock picks are Coca-Cola Co, Wells Fargo & Co, and American Express Co. Buffett had $13.4 billion, $9.9 billion and $7.8 billion, respectively, invested in these three stocks at the end of June. Buffett increased his position in WFC by 3% during the second quarter, while the positions in the other two stocks remained unchanged. These three stocks had a weighted average return of 1.64% since the beginning of this year, versus -3.53% for SPY during the same period. Two out of three stocks outperformed the market during the same period. Jean-Marie Eveillard is another main holder of AXP stocks. He had $651 million invested in AXP shares at the end of June (check out Eveillard’s top stock picks).

Buffett did not change his positions in most of his long-term stock picks during the second quarter. The biggest change is a 27% increase in ConocoPhillips, an international, integrated energy company. Buffett held $2.8 billion in COP shares at the end of June. COP had a positive return of 0.86% since the beginning of this year. It has a market cap of $93.19B and a P/E ratio of 8.33. Jean-Marie Eveillard also had $438 million invested in COP shares.

The best-performing position on the list is Moody’s Corp, which returned 23.71% since the beginning of this year. Moody’s is a credit ratings company. MCO has a market cap of $7.55B and a P/E ratio of 12.46. Buffett had over $1 billion invested in MCO shares at the end of the second quarter, and he did not increase or decrease his MCO position during the second quarter. Jeffrey Ubben had $424 million invested in MCO shares. Jim Simons also have $42 million invested in Moody’s (check out Simons’ top stock picks).

We like Buffett. Eight out of his top ten long-term stock picks outperformed the market so far this year. We recommend investors focus on Buffett’s top stock picks, especially his long-term stock picks. We believe that by doing so, investors will be able to beat the market in the long term.

Source: 22 Of Buffett's Long-Term Picks