Kraft Heinz (KHC)

Bottles of Kraft Heinz mayonnaise and ketchup on a supermarket shelf in New York

Kraft Heinz is a household name. The current company was formed by the merger of Kraft Foods and Heinz in 2015.

Today, it’s one of the largest packaged foods companies in the world with annual sales of roughly $26 billion.

As of June 30, Buffett’s company owned over 325 million shares of Kraft, worth about $11.7 billion at the current share price. That makes Kraft the fifth largest public holding at Berkshire.

Business got a solid boost last year as people stocked up their pantries amid pandemic. And things have only continued to improve.

In Q3, organic sales climbed 1.3% year over year and were 7.6% above the comparable pre-pandemic period in 2019.

Shares are up 6% year to date but are down more than 50% over the past five years.

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Bank of America (BAC)

Bank of America branch building in Beaverton at twilight
Hrach Hovhannisyan/Shutterstock

Bank of America is Berkshire’s second largest holding — only tech giant Apple occupies more space in the portfolio.

At the end of June, Berkshire owned more than 1,000,000 shares of the banking gorilla, a stake now worth around $49 billion.

In its most recent quarter, Bank of America’s revenue grew 12% year over year to $22.9 billion. Profit climbed an even more impressive 58% to $7.7 billion.

The company saw strong credit quality as net charge-offs fell to 20 basis points of average loans, its lowest loss rate in 50 years.

Bank stocks have performed well as a group this year. In fact, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley have all more than doubled over the past 12 months.

But because earnings have also improved substantially, bank valuations are in line with the sector’s five-year average.

Bank of America has a P/E ratio of about 14.

If you’re on the fence about jumping in at the current level, some apps might give you a free share of Bank of America or Wells Fargo just for signing up.

Verizon Communications (VZ)

Verizon store signage day exterior
Elliott Cowand Jr/Shutterstock

Verizon is one of the rare large-cap stocks that hasn’t soared over the past couple of years. And as a value investor, Buffett is pouncing on the opportunity.

Berkshire loaded up on 146.7 million shares of Verizon in Q4 2020. And by Q2 2021, the position had grown to 158.8 million shares with a market value estimated at $8.4 billion.

The telecom giant fits nicely in Berkshire’s portfolio: It runs a recurring business, gushes free cash flow, and pays generous dividends.

In Q3, Verizon added 429,000 postpaid phone customers. Meanwhile, operating revenue rose 4.3% to $32.9 billion.

The sector hasn’t been an investor favorite this year. Verizon — along with rivals AT&T and T-Mobile US — are all down more than 10% year to date.

As it stands, Verizon has a P/E ratio of 10.

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Socks or stocks?

Excited african man customer receive good parcel open cardboard box at home satisfied with great purchase

Even if you don’t agree with Buffett on these specific stocks, you should still implement his time-tested strategy of buying high-quality assets at discounted prices.

Of course, you can apply this value-oriented approach in everything you do — not just investing.

For example, a free browser application allows you to automatically hunt for lower prices and coupons when shopping online.

Because let’s face it: Amazon doesn’t always have the best prices.

It’s free to use and takes seconds to set up.

As Buffett once said, “Whether we're talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.”

Fine art as an investment

Stocks can be volatile, cryptos make big swings to either side, and even gold is not immune to the market’s ups and downs.

That’s why if you are looking for the ultimate hedge, it could be worthwhile to check out a real, but overlooked asset: fine art.

Contemporary artwork has outperformed the S&P 500 by a commanding 174% over the past 25 years, according to the Citi Global Art Market chart.

And it’s becoming a popular way to diversify because it’s a real physical asset with little correlation to the stock market.

On a scale of -1 to +1, with 0 representing no link at all, Citi found the correlation between contemporary art and the S&P 500 was just 0.12 during the past 25 years.

Earlier this year, Bank of America investment chief Michael Harnett singled out artwork as a sharp way to outperform over the next decade — due largely to the asset’s track record as an inflation hedge.

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About the Author

Jing Pan

Jing Pan

Investment Reporter

Jing is an investment reporter for MoneyWise. Prior to joining the team, he was a research analyst and editor at one of the leading financial publishing companies in North America. An avid advocate of investing for passive income, he wrote a monthly dividend stock newsletter for the better half of the past decade. Jing holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree, both from the University of Toronto.

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