Warren Buffett Portfolio Breakdown: Top Holdings Revealed

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Jacob Wolinsky
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Warren Buffett, often called the Oracle of Omaha is one of the most successful investors in the world. He, as a disciple of Benjamin Graham, learned the investment principles from him, thus focusing on value investing in companies with a strong foundation. He is a synonym for a successful investor who constantly brings positive returns, and we will take the chance to analyze the top holdings in Warren Buffett’s portfolio.

Warren Buffett’s portfolio is considered to be concentrated since almost half of it is stocks in Apple Inc. Other major holdings in his portfolio are Bank of America, American Express, and Coca-Cola. In Q3 2023 his hedge fund Berkshire Hathaway sold more than a dozen stocks, reducing their stakes in Chevron and HP. 

Although his approach is considered to be conservative, focusing on low-risk investments, he and his fund is still bringing in solid returns. To fully understand his investment philosophy, and what strategies he prefers when constructing his portfolio, stay with us.

Warren Buffett’s Recent Portfolio

In Q3 of 2023, Warren Buffet has been selling more stocks and didn’t focus much on buying anything worth noting. As a big fan of Apple Inc., he is known as a major share owner. He continued to buy Apple shares and he is currently owning 915,560,382 shares. The current value of his Apple Inc. share is $175.1 billion. Apple shares take 49% of Warren Buffett’s portfolio.

The second on the list of his major holdings is Bank of America, where he owns more than a billion shares with a total value of $30.9 billion. Also worth noting is his holding in American Express with 151,610,700 owned shares totaling $24.8 billion.

He recently exited from several positions:

  • Activision Blizzard
  • Celanese Corporation (NYSE:CE)
  • Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)
  • Mondelez International Inc (NASDAQ:MDLZ)
  • Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG)
  • United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS).

Berkshire Hataway also trimmed some of their positions, including:

  • Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN). They sold 5.2% of their shares
  • Aon PLC (NYSE:AON). Buffet reduced his holdings by 5.4%
  • Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX). He did a major trimming of this position, reducing it by 10.5%
  • HP Inc (NYSE:HPQ). Another greatly reduced position, for a total of 15.2%.

Warren Buffet also reduced his holdings in Global Life, and Markel Group by 67% and 66.4% respectively.

With the start of 2024, Berkshire Hathaway started their investment cycle, buying stocks in Liberty Media Corp. Series C, and Liberty Media Corp. Series A. The average price of these shares was $29.23 and $29.21 respectively. They also increased their holdings in Occidental Petroleum Corp. by 2.2%. This holding now represents 4.4% of Warren Buffett’s portfolio.

Other Key Investments in His Portfolio

Warren Buffet currently has 49 securities in his portfolio. Besides the biggest holdings like Apple and Bank of America, his other key investments are:

  • Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO) is A major holding that represents 6.9% of its portfolio. He is steadily holding these shares and is currently seeing an 82.7% rise in the price of the stocks from the period he acquired them. The current value of this position is $24 billion
  • Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX). Despite some trimming of this position, it still takes 4.8% of Buffett’s portfolio. He owns 110 million shares, with a current value of $149.50 per share, with a total value of $16.5 billion
  • Kraft Heinz Co (NASDAQ:KHC). It is the third-largest food and beverage manufacturer in North America. Buffett owns 3226 million shares, and it takes 3.6% of his portfolio. The value of this holding is currently $12.5 billion
  • Moody’s Corp (NYSE:MCO). Buffet is a long-time owner of stakes in this business and financial services company. He currently owns 24.7 million shares with a total value of $9.27 billion.

Warren Buffett’s Investment Strategy

Warren Buffett as a long-time disciple of Benjamin Graham is known as a value investor. He is focused on long-term investments, and focusing on companies that have strong fundamentals.

Like other value investors, he is always looking to calculate the intrinsic value of the company. Acquiring stocks at the intrinsic price comes with substantial discounts. This is a common tactic used to create a hedge against price market shifts.

Another benefit of aiming for the intrinsic value is that the investor is paying for the actual value of the stocks. Another upside of this approach is a chance for a long-term capital appreciation that suits Buffet’s strategy.

When discussing Buffett’s investment strategy we can take notes from his portfolio. He was always looking for fundamentally strong companies. Identifying competitive advantage was always a priority.

Companies that possess them create a so-called economic moat that works like a shield against competition and market downturns. These advantages can come from efficiently organized operations, strong intellectual property, or brand reputation.

When analyzing Buffett’s portfolio we can see his approach of buy and hold. He tends to hold the same business for decades. Every company he invests in is carefully selected with plans for capitalizing on the long-term. He often points out that when the investor is focusing on short-term price fluctuations, he can miss out on the underlying value of the company.

Another potential benefit of long-term investing is compounding if the investor is keen on it. Warren Buffett often emphasizes the power of compounding where his reinvested profits generate even higher returns in time. While he keeps the stocks for a longer time, the effect of compounding can make a better impact.

Warren Buffett’s Investment Philosophy

His investment strategy comes hand in hand with his investment philosophy and mindset. It is built around patience and focuses on deep analysis. Buffett has decades of investing experience and he knows how markets can get volatile. He regains his composure during those periods and does not give in to emotions.

When he chose his investment targets he chose good companies that could pass through these tough times and still end up on the surface. When conducting fundamental analysis he is looking for companies with a solid financial strength that can offer some durability during difficult times.

Companies with low levels of debt, a consistent stream of profitability, and strong cash flow are obvious targets for Buffett’s portfolio. He also ponders about the management team and its capabilities. Buffett always held in high regard capable managers with an ethical approach to conducting business. A good leader and manager by Buffett’s standards also has to have a vision for the business, and a level of creativity to drive it even further.

What is also worth noting is Buffett’s preference for business sectors and industries that he has some insights about. Throughout his investment career, he usually aimed to invest in companies and industries that he understands. That brings to the table another factor – an informed investment decision, which can often be crucial.

When he looks at the business he wants to see simplicity in the business model that can lead to predictable earning streams. He found off-putting highly leveraged companies or those with over-complex operations that are difficult to analyze.

Like Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett didn’t approve of blindly following current market trends. He still finds doing his research and forming his investment decision the best way to go. That is complemented by his focus on constant learning. Throughout his career, he always pointed out the need for investors to constantly work on their skills. Investing is always changing, and it demands learning and adaptability.

Warren Buffett’s Portfolio Diversification

Portfolio diversification is one of the top risk management strategies. The aim is to spread out investments along different industry sectors, and asset classes.

Warren Buffet is not blindly going into new investments just for the sake of diversification. So we can say that his portfolio is not diversified, but concentrated in a couple of high-conviction stocks.

By choosing this approach Buffet is aiming to take larger positions in the businesses with a strong foundation. Warren Buffett’s portfolio is composed of positions in strong companies that can generate positive returns in the long run.

Often we can see managers and investors gloating about their highly diversified portfolios. Buffett doesn’t believe that superficial knowledge about many different companies is the way to invest. At least not in the long run.

He is looking for the best stocks in companies that he has pondered about for a long time. He wants to know everything about a company before he invests in it. That is why you will not see hundreds of different companies in his portfolio. He is investing and holding stocks in companies that he truly believes in.

Sector Allocation

From his lack of focus on diversifying the portfolio, we can conclude that he is not conducting sector allocation in a traditional sense. He chooses the companies he trusts and sectors that he understands.

The current sector allocation of his portfolio currently looks like this:

  • Informational technology sector (around 42%). His holdings in Apple and Amazon put this sector in absolute first place in his portfolio
  • Financial sector (around 21%). Buffet is holding stocks in different major companies from this sector, including Bank of America, American Express, Visa, and MasterCard
  • Consumer staples (around 10%). Buffet recognized steady revenues from this sector. His major stock holdings are in Coca-Cola, Kroger, and Kraft Heinz.

Risk Management Strategies

Warren Buffett’s strongest risk management strategy is that he knows what he invests in. When he combines that with the value investing approach, he gets stocks bought at a discount price, in the companies that he recognized as strong ones.

The impact of his investment philosophy can be seen in the ways he manages investment risk. By buying companies with competitive advantages, strong cash flows, low debt, and capable management he is already conducting risk management.

His concentrated approach can be seen as a risky tactic, but when you know your fundamentals, then you do not need dozens of companies in the portfolio. Warren Buffett is known for keeping the stocks in the same companies for decades, even through their worst times. But, those companies usually come on top, resulting in solid long-term returns.

Historical Performance of Warren Buffett’s Portfolio

When looking at the historical performance of Warren Buffett’s portfolio it is one of the prime examples of a successful and long investing career.

Buffett’s portfolio achieved a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) at an annual rate of 19.8% in the last 30 years. When this is compared with the average returns of the S&P 500 which was 9.9% in the same period, it is easy to see how his portfolio is constantly overperforming.

Due to his concentrated approach, his portfolio suffered periods of high volatility. Measuring volatility with standard deviation results in 13.66% for his portfolio, slightly higher than the S&P 500 with a deviation of 15.54%.

When we compare the annual returns of Buffett’s portfolio with portfolios of mutual funds, we see an even bigger difference. The average annual return of a mutual fund is in the range of 0.5 and 1%, which is much less than

Like all investors in their career, Buffett also went through major downfalls. The highest drop was during the 2008 global economic crisis when his portfolio suffered a decline of 51.2%. But, after the crises most of his stocks regained value. This again proved the importance of deep analysis and trust in quality companies.

Take A Look At Historical Breakdown of Warren Buffett’s Stock Portfolio 1994 – 2021: 

Lessons from Warren Buffett’s Portfolio

We can learn From Warren Buffet similar wisdom that he gathered from Benjamin Graham. Key lessons that we can use as inspiration are:

  • Look for an intrinsic value. Focus on buying companies with a strong intrinsic value. Conduct trades below their true value based on their future potential. Do not chase current trends or short-term gains of the majority
  • Look for businesses with real competitive advantages. These companies offer something more than their industry counterparts. In the long run, they can capitalize on innovations, or on the factors that their advantages are offering
  • Focus on the long-term investment. Through deep analysis identify strong companies that will bring returns for decades to come
  • Invest in sectors that you understand. If you know the companies, the competitive landscape, and other crucial factors, you can make an informed investment decision. Avoid blindly going with the crowd that usually doesn’t know what are they investing into
  • Do not underestimate the margin of safety. It works as a hedge against price fluctuations and provides decent cover from losses
  • If you think that you can – concentrate on the portfolio. Investors always learned that diversification is one of the prime risk management strategies. But, it often resorts to investing in companies not properly analyzed, just for the sake of diversification. If you know what are you investing in, you do not need a highly diversified portfolio
  • Work on your mindset. If you want to be a successful investor and build a career in it, you need to work on yourself. Develop resilience to stress from market fluctuations. Work on your patience. Success doesn’t come overnight, and it surely will not come as a result of uncoordinated actions. Develop a strategy, stick to it, and only make adjustments if every parameter says you should
  • Invest the capital you can lose. Arguably the most important Warren Buffett lesson. Never invest your last money. Not a single investment should make a significant negative impact on your life. Every investor will lose from time to time, but it is crucial to know that your life will go through those phases.

Challenges Faced by Warren Buffett’s Portfolio

Although historical returns of Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio are almost always overperforming the competition, some challenges could make things difficult in the future.

The first issue is that Buffett’s portfolio in 2024 is starting with 6 major stock holdings. That instantly points to an increased concentration risk.

The other major event that marked not only Buffett’s life, but the whole investing world is the passing of his long-time partner Charlie Munger. Munger joined Berkshire Hathaway’s board of directors in 1978 and since then they made investment decisions in close cooperation. That today leaves Warren Buffett as the key decision-maker in the fund.

Another issue that can prove to be a big problem in the future is Buffett’s insurance subsidiaries. Insurance companies that he controls, like GEICO and Nation Indemnity Company, earn from the economic environment characterized by high-interest rates. In today’s climate, with lower interest rates, their profit is also dwindling.

Buffet has significant shares in both financial and retail sectors that are currently assessing the impact of technological advancements like AI and machine learning. Companies in those sectors are still requiring time to adapt and implement new processes which is putting a strain on their returns.

Another issue could be an increased share of their cash holdings, which further increased in Q3 2023.

Future Outlook for Warren Buffett’s Portfolio

The future outlook for Warren Buffett’s portfolio can have different outlooks that often do not have much to do with his experience and knowledge. Challenges like technological disruptions, and adaptations to new technology play a crucial role in the world economy, and it can leave a lasting impact.

One of the keys that could unlock further advancements is adaptation to new opportunities offered by AI and other advanced technologies. Finding a way to implement them in operational processes is still an enigma for many. If Buffett and his partners find a way to best utilize the new possibilities, that will create a competitive advantage that would provide a buffer against competition.

What helps Berkshire Hathaway in the long term are solid cash reserves and low levels of debt. Those are great prerequisites that provide a hedge against economic downturns and open a possibility for opportunistic acquisitions.

Another potential problem for not only Buffett’s portfolio, but a problem on a global scale is the impact of several major wars. That triggers overall uncertainty, and global political insecurity is not helping that cause.

As we saw during the COVID-19 epidemic, which caused massive problems with broken production and transportation processes, the same scenario could repeat soon. Problems with semiconductors from the past can look like a minor mishap when compared with potential downturns in the future years. Since Buffett’s portfolio is heavily dependent on the tech sector, that could slow its rise.

What many are pointing out as another question for the near future is facing a dilemma regarding the succession of Warren Buffett? He was always mysterious about that topic, and he still didn’t give any hints that could point to an individual that he perceived as his next in line.

FAQs

What Stocks Berkshire Hathaway Is Holding?

The top 10 stocks in Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio are:

  1. Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) – $177.6 billion
  2. Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) – $28.3 billion
  3. American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) – $22.6 billion
  4. Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO) – $22.4 billion
  5. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) – $18.6 billion
  6. Moody’s Corp (NYSE:MCO) – $16.5 billion
  7. Visa Inc (NYSE:V) – $16.1 billion
  8. Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) – $15.2 billion
  9. Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) – $12.1 billion
  10. Liberty Broadband Corp (NASDAQ:LBRDA) – $8.1 billion.

What Is the Warren Buffett Rule?

Through his long and productive career, Buffett has made several observations that are more often perceived as rules, but one stands out from the crowd. It is his idea that is frequently referred to when discussing tax policies.

His view of this taxing issue is that individuals with higher incomes should pay a proportionally higher percentage of their income in taxes. He saw this as a more fair approach to calculating taxes.

He stated that he pays a lower percentage of his income in taxes than his secretary. That propelled further discussion about reforming the tax system. The aim is to distribute taxation in a more fair manner, where richer individuals will pay a fair share of the tax when compared to their income.

Buffett’s argument leaned toward the implementation of progressive taxation. By implementing it tax rates would increase as income levels rise.

Who Are the Largest Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway?

The top 10 shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway are:

Stockholder Stake Shares owned Total Value ($) Shares Bought/Sold Total change
The Vanguard Group, Inc. 10.58% 138,377,715 49,815,977,400 +1,167,422 +0.85%
BlackRock Fund Advisors 5.81% 76,045,786 27,376,482,960 +2,154,363 +2.92%
SSgA Funds Management, Inc. 5.13% 67,054,119 24,139,482,840 -980,591 -1.44%
Geode Capital Management LLC 2.57% 33,563,538 12,082,873,680 +1,284,093 +3.98%
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust 1.72% 22,529,601 8,110,656,360 -2,613,252 -10.39%
Northern Trust Investments Inc. 1.16% 15,221,658 5,479,796,880 +481,377 +3.27%
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC 0.85% 11,054,046 3,979,456,560 +234,568 +2.17%
Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. 0.76% 9,960,962 3,585,946,320 +305,322 +3.16%
Norges Bank Investment Management 0.65% 8,503,502 3,061,260,720 +1,588,859 +22.98%
T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc 0.64% 8,335,637 3,000,829,320 -217,628 -2.54%

Final Thoughts

In the last quarter of 2023, we saw that he completely exited from 7 positions, and reduced the share count by a further 6 positions. He increased the amount of cash holdings and is reluctant to invest.

Buffett is known as a smooth operator, and he sticks to his main players like Apple, Coca-Cola, and Bank of America. But with the recent passing of his long-time right-hand Charlie Munger, we could witness a shift in his investment approach. The current high volatility of the global market is not going in anyone’s favor, so Buffett’s conservative approach may end up winning one soon.

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Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of HedgeFundAlpha (formerly ValueWalk Premium), a popular value investing and hedge fund focused intelligence service. Prior to founding the company, Jacob worked as an equity analyst focused on small caps. Jacob lives with his wife and five kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at)hedgefundalpha.com FD: I do not purchase any equities to avoid conflict of interest and any insider information. I only purchase broad-based ETFs and mutual funds.