Warren Buffett is often referred to as the Oracle of Omaha for his sage stock picks, and ability to generate a strong return on behalf of his investors. Few other investors have the decades-long track record of success that Buffett has enjoyed. That success has made Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett’s company, one of the largest in the country.
Berkshire Hathaway owns entire companies outright, like GEICO Insurance and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. However, it also has a substantial investment portfolio, holding stakes in companies from Wells Fargo to Coca-Cola. Click through to see six top-performing stocks that Buffett has built positions in over the course of 2015.
1. Phillips 66
Warren Buffett’s strategy is classic value investing: He looks for undervalued firms with defensible businesses. One of the firms that captured his attention, based on that philosophy, is Phillips 66. This company processes, transports, stores and markets fuels, and related products, globally.
Phillips 66 also holds a 50 percent equity investment in Chevron Phillips Chemical Company. The company’s refining segment buys, sells and refines crude oil through 14 refineries in the United States and Europe. This investment could mean the Oracle and his team saw some value in certain companies following the oil price crash.
Buffett’s stake in the company is now a whopping 61.5 million shares. The stock currently trades at around $93 a share, and it started the year around $65 a share. If an investor had bought at the start of 2015, and held those shares until now, the return would be more than 25 percent.
2. Liberty Media
Buffett has also built up a considerable stake in media and entertainment company Liberty Media, across many of its related stock share classes. As of the end of the third quarter, Buffett’s conglomerate owned 7.8 million of the company’s class A shares, worth around $315 million.
Liberty Media owns a variety of different assets itself, including holding subsidiaries for SIRIUS XM satellite radio, the Atlanta National League Baseball Club — including the Atlanta Braves franchise — and Live Nation Entertainment. Berkshire’s holdings total just over 2 percent ownership in this share class of the mini-conglomerate. The class A shares have had a good year, rising from roughly $34 per share in January to around $41 a share today, representing a total gain of more than 20 percent.
3. Charter Communications
One hallmark of big investors in general, and Buffett in particular, is that once they find a stock they like, they keep adding to their holdings in the company whenever they sense a good buying opportunity. In this case, Berkshire first started buying up shares of Charter Communications in the second quarter of 2014, and has increased its position every quarter since then, except for one. By the end of the third quarter of 2015, Buffett had gathered a total stake of 10.3 million shares, worth nearly $2 billion.
Charter’s stock has soared from around $160 a share at the start of 2015, to roughly $186 a share at present, for a more than 16 percent gain in this $21 billion market cap company. Charter is in the midst of acquiring Time Warner Cable, which would create a mammoth cable operation, offering cable TV, internet and phone services to a broad swath of the country. Berkshire’s nearly 10 percent stake in the Charter/Time Warner tie-up means that it would own a big chunk of one of the largest cable companies in the country.
4. Axalta Coating Systems
For investors like Warren Buffett, who are putting hundreds of millions, or even billions, of dollars in investments on the line, it’s critical to really understand a company before investing. For that reason, and given the size of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett tends to avoid short-term investing and frequent stock picking.
In the second quarter of 2015, all but one of Buffett’s investments were adding to positions in stocks he already owned. Chemical maker Axalta Coating Systems, with a $7 billion market cap, was the one company Buffett found interesting enough that he started a new position in its stock. Buffett bought Axalta stock initially from Carlyle Group, and he continued to purchase stock in the third quarter of 2015.
As of Sept. 30, Berkshire Hathaway owned 23.2 million shares of the maker of industrial paints and coatings. The firm complements many of Berkshire’s other businesses, like new acquisition Precision Cast Parts. The stock has had a volatile year, but since the start of 2015, the stock has risen from about $26 a share to just below $30 a share today.
Verisign is a global provider of domain name registry services and internet security. In essence, the company’s services help to power the back end of the internet, and allow consumers to easily navigate the Web. The company has been able to slowly and consistently increase its profits over time.
Buffett doesn’t normally invest in technology stocks, but Verisign appealed enough to him that he broke this rule. That’s been a good decision this year, as Verisign has vaulted higher from $57 at the start of the year, to around $87 per share today, for a return in excess of 50 percent.
Buffett is famously frugal, as exemplified by his long-standing choice of a modest residence, among other things. It’s probably not a big surprise, then, that Buffett sees value in retailer Costco. The firm operates warehouse clubs where the consumer pays an annual membership fee, but gets access to lower prices on goods if they’re willing to buy in larger quantities.
Costco’s popularity has surged over time, and the firm operates more than 680 membership club stores. The company’s success is reflected in its stock price, which has surged from roughly $140 a share in January, to around $165 today, for about an 18 percent gain.
This article originally appeared on GoBankingRates.
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