Many professional investors and money managers consider Warren Buffett to be one of the best long-term investors out there, especially among those investing within the public equity markets. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, is a holding company that maintains several large positions in well-known American companies. The majority of Berkshire's large publicly traded investments also have above-average dividends and a track record of growing them over time.
Below is a recent performance chart of Berkshire Hathaway's B-class shares (NYSE:BRK.B).
Both individual and institutional investors keep track of what Warren Buffett buys, acknowledging Berkshire's prior success, the potential for future success, and the extreme likelihood that other investors will mimic Buffett's decisions.
Warren Buffett's five largest equity investments, according to Berkshire Hathaway's last 13F quarterly filing, are Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), American Express (NYSE:AXP), and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG). Berkshire has held most of these positions for years, though Berkshire acquired the majority of its IBM position during the end of 2011. Berkshire has also considerably increased his position in Wells Fargo since the financial crisis hit in 2008 and 2009.
In the table below I have provided the one-month, 2012-to-date, and one-year performance rates for each of the above-listed equities, as well as their present yields.
Each of these investments is sizable, with valuations between about $5 and $14 billion. The next 13F filing is due in about a week. Large holding companies, like Berkshire, and hedge funds must report their positions in publicly traded equities within 45 days of the end of each quarter.
Since the start of 2012, the best-performing listed equities are American Express and Wells Fargo, both of which are financials. The financial sector has included some the stronger-performing equities since the start of the year, along with several technology equities.
This past weekend was Berkshire Hathaway's annual investor extravaganza, in Omaha, Neb. Warren Buffett noted that the company has been looking to acquire new businesses, and that it recently considered a large-cap acquisition.
"We considered one here just a month or two ago, which we would have liked to do," Buffett said, adding that the reason he didn't make the purchase was because Berkshire would have had to sell some securities he didn't want to sell. "We wish we could have made it," Buffett added, without providing any indication as to the name of the potential acquisition.
In 2010, Berkshire divested portions of its stock portfolio in order to fund the company's acquisition of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, a railroad, including selling part of its multibillion-dollar positions in Kraft (KFT) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). Berkshire's purchase of Burlington was its largest ever, valued at just over $26 billion.
Berkshire subsequently purchased Lubrizol for about $9 billion and multiple small insurers, leaving investors to wonder what Berkshire's next purchase might be and what, if anything, Berkshire will need to sell in order to make that next acquisition. Perhaps the company's forthcoming 13F will provide some greater clarity on that subject.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative and should not be construed as personalized advice as it does not take into account your specific situation or objectives.