Warren Buffett's Dividend Portfolio

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway outperformed the S&P 500 by 9.9% per year from 1965 through 2022, generating an overall gain of 3,787,464% compared to the market’s total return of 24,708%.

It’s no wonder why investors closely monitor Warren Buffett’s portfolio. He is arguably the greatest investor of all time, and he has doled out some of the best investment advice over the years.

Here's a list of all the dividend stocks owned by Warren Buffett:While Berkshire Hathaway itself does not pay a dividend because it prefers to reinvest all of its earnings for growth, Warren Buffett has certainly not been shy about owning shares of dividend-paying stocks. 

Over half of Berkshire's holdings pay a dividend, and several of them have yields near 4% or higher. 

A dividend is often the sign of a financially healthy and stable business that is committed to rewarding shareholders. These are some of the qualities Warren Buffett looks for when he invests.

Warren Buffett's Latest Trades

In the second quarter of 2023, Berkshire Hathaway made headlines for establishing new positions in three homebuilder stocks. However, these holdings account for less than 0.3% of Berkshire's portfolio, so it's hard to read too much into this development.

Housing stocks have been red-hot in 2023 as high interest rates have counterintuitively increased demand for new builds by limiting available inventory of existing homes for sale.

Some investors could look at Berkshire's housing plays as an indication that Buffett might believe interest rates will remain higher for longer. But the smaller position sizes and scattered bet across three stocks seems more likely to reflect a bet by one of Buffett's lieutenants, Todd Combs or Ted Weschler.

Berkshire's other activity in the second quarter was fairly uneventful. The three divested positions represented less than 0.3% of the conglomerate's portfolio.

New Positions
  • NVR (NVR) – homebuilding
  • D.R. Horton (DHI) – homebuilding
  • Lennar (LEN.B) – homebuilding

Added To
  • Capital One (COF) – financial services
  • Occidental Petroleum (OXY) – oil and gas producer

  • Activision Blizzard (ATVI) – video games
  • Globe Life (GL) – life and health insurance
  • General Motors (GM) – automobile manufacturer
  • Celanese (CE) – commodity chemicals
  • Chevron (CVX) – integrated oil producer

  • Vitesse Energy (VTS) – oil and gas royalties 
  • McKesson (MCK) – health care distributor
  • Marsh & McLennan (MMC) – insurance broker

Warren Buffett's 5 Highest-Yielding Stocks

Here's a look at the dividend stocks with the highest yields in Berkshire's portfolio.

5) Chevron (CVX)

Buffett bought into Chevron in late 2020 when the market was worried about the safety of dividends across the oil patch. Chevron's dividend yield was nearly twice as high back then, approaching 8%.

Energy demand has since boomed as the global economy rebounded from Covid lockdowns while supply has shown more restraint, contributing to today's inflationary environment while bolstering profits across the industry.

Chevron is one of the highest-quality companies in this space, with a pristine balance sheet and low breakeven oil price required to cover its capital expenditures and dividend. The stock accounts for about 6% of Buffett's equity holdings.
Source: Simply Safe Dividends

4) United Parcel Service (UPS)

Warren Buffett only owns around $10 million of UPS shares, making it a rounding error in Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio. Even though the position is relatively small, Buffett has held Big Brown shares since 2006.

UPS is a classic Buffett business with high barriers to entry (hard-to-replicate transportation network), an essential service (package delivery), dependable cash flow (industry-leading scale), and a growing end market (thanks to e-commerce and global trade).

These qualities have enabled UPS to pay uninterrupted dividends since 1969.
Source: Simply Safe Dividends

3) Ally Financial (ALLY)

Berkshire has owned shares of Ally since the first quarter of 2022, making the financial services company approximately 0.2% of its portfolio.

Buffett has likely followed Ally for a long time as it was founded in 1919 by General Motors (another Berkshire holding) to provide financing to automotive customers.

Ally is still one of the largest car finance companies in America but has evolved to become a full spectrum provider of consumer and banking services as well.

Rising interest rates have squeezed the BBB- rated bank's profitability since Buffett's initial purchase. But he likely expects deposits to continue rising over the long run, fueling earnings growth as Ally invests these funds into loans and other interest-earning assets.
Source: Simply Safe Dividends

2) Kraft Heinz (KHC)

Kraft Heinz represents about 3.3% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio and is one of the firm's less successful investments, with roots tracing back to a 2013 deal Buffett struck with 3G Capital to take Heinz private.

Kraft Heinz got into trouble after its private equity owners cut costs too far, leaving the maker of condiments, sauces, frozen meals, and other packaged foods more vulnerable to competition and healthy eating trends.

Coupled with a bloated balance sheet, Kraft Heinz slashed its dividend in 2019 and has struggled to achieve consistent, profitable organic growth. This is one of the less interesting investments in Berkshire's portfolio, even though it is among Buffett's highest-yielding dividend stocks.
Source: Simply Safe Dividends

1) Citigroup (C)

Warren Buffett initiated a position in Citigroup in early 2022. Berkshire has invested in bank stocks for many decades, attracted by their ability to print money by taking in cheap deposits, lending out at higher rates, and managing risk appropriately.

It's hard to say why Citigroup, which accounts for 0.3% of Berkshire's portfolio, caught Buffett's eye. The bank's stock trades at a discount compared to larger, more reputable peers such as JPMorgan Chase.

And perhaps Buffett expected rising interest rates to act as a rising tide to lift all banks, even though this has had the opposite effect so far due to the fierce battle for deposits.
Source: Simply Safe Dividends

Warren Buffett’s Investment Strategy

Warren Buffett has evolved as an investor since launching his original partnership in 1956. 

Back then, Warren Buffett’s portfolio was much smaller in size and allowed him to pursue the greatest inefficiencies he could find in the market almost regardless of the stock’s market cap. He focused intensely on finding stocks trading at cheap valuations.

Buffett was not afraid to make a single position account for more than 25% of his portfolio and stated that he would be comfortable investing up to 40% of his net worth in a single security if the probabilities were deemed to be extremely in his favor, limiting risk.

Warren Buffett’s portfolio remains concentrated today, with Apple representing around 40% of Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio (excluding cash). 

The idea behind running a concentrated portfolio is that there are relatively few excellent businesses and investment opportunities in the market at any given time, and owning too many positions reduces the impact from your few best ideas.

Importantly, Warren Buffett’s investment strategy has always been focused on the concept of staying within one’s circle of competence. Buffett has said that “risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”

In other words, never invest in a business or industry that is too hard for you to understand. The reality is, most investment opportunities fall outside of our circle of competence and should be ignored. 

Since the days of his initial partnership, Buffett’s strategy has evolved to concentrate more on buying up wonderful businesses at reasonable prices rather than digging through the bargain bin for “cheap” stocks. He looks for companies that have strong economic moats and numerous opportunities for growth.

When Warren Buffett makes an investment, he has said that his favorite holding period is “forever.” The idea is to buy excellent companies with solid long-term growth prospects and let them compound over the long run.

Not surprisingly, our dividend investment philosophy shares many similarities with Warren Buffett’s. 

By remaining focused on simple, high quality businesses trading at reasonable prices, we can construct a sound dividend portfolio that can deliver safe, growing dividend income for years to come.

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