Warren Buffett has been in the headlines this week following the release of the always-anticipated annual letter to shareholders over the weekend.
Some of these businesses are completely private, and thus not listed on any stock exchange. These include Dairy Queen, GEICO, Fruit of the Loom and Duracell.
Berkshire’s portfolio revealed
But others are publically traded on the share market. Berkshire owns shares in these companies, just like you or I would (although far larger stakes, I’d wager).
Buffett’s largest publically-traded positions can be viewed in the annual letter Berkshire released over the weekend.
Here is a list of the 16 largest positions Buffett (through Berkshire) owned as of 31 December 2020 (all figures are in US dollars):
- Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) – worth $120.42 billion
- Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) – worth $31.31 billion
- Coca-Cola Co (NYSE: KO) – worth $21.94 billion
- American Express Company (NYSE: AXP) – worth $18.33 billion
- Kraft Heinz Co (NASDAQ: KHC) – worth $11.3 billion
- Verizon Communicartions Inc (NYSE: VZ) – worth $8.62 billion
- Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) – worth $7.16 billion
- U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB)– worth $6.9 billion
- BYD Co. Ltd – worth $5.9 billion
- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) – worth $4.1 billion
- Charter Communications Inc (NASDAQ: CHTR) – worth $3.45 billion
- Bank of New York Mellon Corp (NYSE: BK) – worth $2.84 billion
- AbbVie Inc (NYSE: ABBV) – worth $2.74 billion
- Merck & Co, Inc (NYSE: MRK) – worth $2.35 billion
- Itochu Corporation – worth $2.34 billion
- General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) – worth 2.21 billion
A diversified portfolio of Buffett winners
Some interesting names there. As you may have deduced, Berkshire’s area of speciality appears to be financials. Banks, more than any other industry, dominate these holdings with names like Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Moody’s and US Bancorp. An old Buffett favourite in American Express is also a financial company, although not a bank per se.
There is a healthy mix of other companies too, though. Chevron is an oil giant, and General Motors and BYD are car makers (GM is the name behind our Holden brand).
Merck & Co and AbbVie are both pharmaceutical companies, whereas Itochu is a Japanese industrial conglomerate. Kraft Heinz is a food giant, whereas Verizon is a telco.
And of course, we have Coca-Cola and Apple, two of Buffett’s more famous positions. Berkshire only initiated a position in Apple back in 2016, but you can see how quickly it has risen to become Berkshire’s largest position by far. The fact that Apple has risen 385% over the past 5 years wouldn’t have hurt either.