Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Tens of thousands of investors are heading to Omaha, Nebraska, for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders meeting this week, eager to hear from Warren Buffett about his views on the company, the economy and the stocks he’s investing in.
Let’s look at his biggest holdings and what he’s said about them in the past year.
In his 2018 annual letter, Buffett said he’s holding these stocks for the long run, saying he doesn’t view them “as a collection of ticker symbols – a financial dalliance to be terminated because of downgrades by the Street.”
The annual meeting, nicknamed “Woodstock for Capitalists,” kicks off Saturday morning at Omaha’s CHI Health Center, formerly named CenturyLink Center. Buffett and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger will entertain a crowd of more than 30,000 with a six-hour Q&A session, commenting on a wide range of topics, including their succession plan, investment strategy and market outlook. It’s also a festival-level extravaganza with all the Buffett-branded swag for investors to snag.
The “Oracle of Omaha” is still a fan of Apple, owning more than $40 billion value of the tech giant as of end of last year. Buffett first announced Berkshire was buying Apple in February 2017 despite his usual aversion to tech stocks. He told CNBC at the time that he clearly likes Apple, and “we buy them to hold.”
Since then, Berkshire’s position in the iPhone maker has grown significantly. Buffett said in a February interview with CNBC that he would buy more Apple shares if the stock got cheaper.
Apple recently made a push into streaming video content, but the billionaire investor is skeptical about the shift. He said in an interview with CNBC last month that Apple is “a company that can afford a mistake or two,” when asked about the shift.
Since Berkshire’s last annual meeting, Buffett has doubled down on the banking sector, boosting his investments in Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs.
J.P. Morgan is Buffett’s newest investment among the slew of banks and financial services companies on the list as he added the stake in the third quarter. Buffett has long praised the leadership of Jamie Dimon, and last year they announced a joint health-care venture with Amazon, aiming to tackle rising health-care costs.
As Wells Fargo’s single-largest shareholder, Buffett will likely face some questions about the upheaval in the last year at the bank. He told CNBC’s Becky Quick said supported then CEO Tim Sloan “100 percent. ” But Sloan is gone now after political pressure to make more drastic changes to the bank in the wake of the fake accounts sales scandal two years ago.
Buffett’s ramped-up bets on the big banks have yet to pay off. The S&P 500 financial sector lost nearly 15% in 2018, led by scandal-ridden Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo, which fell more than 34% and 24% respectively last year. Bank of America also lost more than 16% in 2018.
The billionaire investor has admitted he’s less bullish on the soda company than he used to be. He said in an interview with CNBC last year that Coca-Cola is being hit by the changing consumer habits.
“There’s a huge loyalty factor, but it’s not as strong as it was,” he said then.
Coca-Cola has underperformed the market significantly this year, only eking out a 2% gain versus the S&P 500’s 17%.