Learn From Warren Buffett's Diversification

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Includes: BRK.A, BRK.B
by: Dividend Earner

One of the investing principles we are thought and read about is to diversify our portfolio by sector and by asset allocations. It's one of the selling factors used by financial advisors when it comes to the mutual funds industry or risk management. Find out what is in Warren Buffett's portfolio to see if diversification plays a role in his investment strategy.

I personally track my diversification with my portfolio tracker and attempt to keep my holdings within a range of my targets. Warren Buffett's diversification can teach you to follow your instinct and to learn what works for you. As I refined my investing strategy over the past years, I have usually adjusted my diversification slightly to reflect what works for my investing approach.

Warren Buffett's Portfolio

Below is Mr. Buffett's portfolio as of March 25, 2017. The source of the data is from Berkshire Hathaway's 13F Filling. There is a total of 47 holdings that is managed within Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) portfolio to put it in perspective with the number of stocks you hold in yours.

"Diversification is protection against ignorance. It makes little sense if you know what you are doing." - Warren Buffett

AAL

American Airlines Group Inc.

AAPL

Apple Inc.

AXP

American Express Company

AXTA

Axalta Coating Systems Ltd.

BK

Bank of New York Mellon Corporation

CHTR

Charter Communications Inc.

COST

Costco Wholesale Corporation

DAL

Delta Air Lines Inc.

DVA

DaVita Inc.

FOXA

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

GE

General Electric Company

GHC

Graham Holdings Company

GM

General Motors Company

GS

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

IBM

International Business Machines Corporation

JNJ

Johnson & Johnson

KHC

The Kraft Heinz Company

KO

Coca-Cola Company

LBTYA

Liberty Global plc Class A Ordinary Shares

LBTYK

Liberty Global plc

LILA

Liberty Global plc

LILAK

Liberty Global plc

LSXMA

Liberty Media Corporation Series A Liberty SiriusXM

LSXMK

Liberty Media Corporation Series C Liberty SiriusXM

LUV

Southwest Airlines Company

MA

Mastercard Incorporated

MCO

Moody's Corporation

MDLZ

Mondelez International Inc.

MON

Monsanto Company

MTB

M&T Bank Corporation

PG

Procter & Gamble Company

PSX

Phillips 66

QSR

Restaurant Brands International Inc.

SIRI

Sirius XM Holdings Inc.

SNY

Sanofi American Depositary Shares

TMK

Torchmark Corporation

UAL

United Continental Holdings

UPS

United Parcel Service Inc.

USB

U.S. Bancorp

USG

USG Corporation

V

Visa Inc.

VRSK

Verisk Analytics Inc.

VRSN

VeriSign Inc.

VZ

Verizon Communications Inc.

WBC

Wabco Holdings Inc.

WFC

Wells Fargo & Company

WMT

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Warren Buffett's Diversification

There are a couple of ways to look at the diversification of a portfolio. The first is to look at the number of stocks in a sector. It tends to highlight the sectors that have strong and stable businesses. See below for the number of stocks held in each sectors.

Mr. Buffett and his team carefully select all of their holdings. Here is a word of wisdom at the center of their stock selection process.

"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." - Warren Buffett

Please note that the sectors were identified as per the TSX. I like to use the same source for my sector tracking which is currently the TSX since it covers all the major North American stock exchanges.

Warren Buffett - Diversification by Sectors

It's clear that Warren Buffett and his team like the Financial Services sector. In fact, they like the credit cards companies since they hold all three major credit card companies. Consumer Defensive is the next big sector which include companies like Costco (NYSE:COST) or Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).

Consumer Cyclical and Communication Services are misleading as Berkshire Hathaway holds many different stocks from Liberty Global and Sirius Media. As for the Industrial sector, the addition of 3 airline companies to the portfolio has boosted the number of stocks for that sector.

FREE EXCEL FILE - Warren Buffett's detailed portfolio.

Warren Buffett - Diversification by Value

The second way to look at diversification is by market value for each sector. If we follow the money, we can see that Buffett puts 80% of his money in 3 sectors; Financial Services, Consumer Defensive, and Technology. It is much more revealing when it comes to the type of businesses Buffett prefers. My investing strategy has also been leaning towards his top two sectors. It more easily fit my 7 rules of investing.

All in all, diversification is a matter of exposure and risk. It may or may not matter to you, but the reason I track it is to understand my overall exposure to a sector and to also understand when a sector is out of favor as a way to systematically find opportunities.

Here is a quote to leave you with from one of the best investors of all times.

"Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing." - Warren Buffett