Stocks to buy

It’s no secret that Warren Buffett’s favorite stock these days seems to be Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). The tech giant now accounts for about 47% of Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE:BRK-A, NYSE:BRK-B) portfolio. Buffett began buying shares in 2016 and pretty much hasn’t stopped. He added over 20 million more shares of Apple stock in the first quarter.

Through a strategy of buy-and-hold investing and making big bets on stocks like Apple, the Oracle of Omaha has rightly built a reputation as the most successful investor of our lifetime. Since 1965, Berkshire Hathaway has returned nearly 3.8 million percent, a compound annual growth rate of 19.8%. That’s roughly double the returns of the S&P 500. Put another way, $10,000 invested with Buffett 58 years ago would be worth some $378 million today. 

Yet, despite the outsized nature of his position in Apple, the tech giant represents just a relatively small percentage of Apple’s shares outstanding. Less than 6%, in fact.

Here are three other Warren Buffett stock picks that the investor is making big bets on by buying up large tranches of stock. In these cases, though, he also has a substantial ownership position in the company.

Bank of America (BAC)

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Many people thought Buffett was giving up on banking after he sold off a number of his holdings in the first quarter. But rather than abandoning the sector, he’s more likely just repositioning himself away from regional banks. 

The billionaire investor still owns significant stakes in financial stocks, including 13% of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). It’s one of the largest bank stocks in the country, and Buffett bought 22.8 million more shares in the first quarter. That brings his total position to over 1 billion shares, or 8.9% of Berkshire Hathaway’s total portfolio, which is second only to Apple.

It’s a solid investment because Bank of America won’t crumble like the regional banks. With depositors worrying whether rising interest rates will put their local bank out of business, many are fleeing to larger institutions like Bank of America. The higher rates will also let it charge more for loans, boosting its bottom line.

Bank of America also offers a better valuation than most of its peers. At just 8 times earnings, a fraction of its book value, and an even smaller percentage of its cash, it offers a decent discount to the likes of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC).

Occidental Petroleum (OXY)

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Oil and gas giant Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) also continues to be one of Warren Buffett’s favorite stocks. After buying almost $8 billion worth of shares last year, he is still buying the stock hand over fist. During the March quarter, he purchased another $1 billion worth of shares, increasing his stake to 24.4%.

Although some believed he wanted to acquire the whole company, Buffett says that’s not true. At the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, The Street quoted him as saying, “There’s speculation about us buying control, we’re not going to buy control. We wouldn’t know what to do with it.” Buffett does, however, have regulatory permission to buy up to 50% of the stock. 

As global demand for fossil fuels remains strong, oil prices will remain elevated. Buffett believes the huge oil-producing Permian Basin region will be a big deal for years to come. When he acquired preferred stock of Occidental back in 2019, he said it was “a bet on the fact that the Permian Basin is what it is cracked up to be.”

Occidental also owns OxyChem, one of the premier chemical companies in the U.S. This stock is a multi-pronged play for Warren Buffett’s portfolio.

Paramount Global (PARA)

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Media and entertainment conglomerate Paramount Global (NASDAQ:PARA) is the stock Buffett loves to hate. He recently told CNBC‘s Becky Quick, “It isn’t fundamentally that good of a business.” He also said the studio’s decision to slash its dividend from 24 cents per share to 5 cents per share is “not good news,” even if necessary.

Yet on the list of Warren Buffett’s latest buys and sells, Paramount was a hold. He owns some 93 million shares worth $1.4 billion, or more than 15% of outstanding shares. Why continue to own it if he doesn’t like the business? Maybe as an arbitrage play.

Buffett says the dog-eat-dog world of streaming will only survive with fewer players. He told Quick, “You’ve got some people with deep pockets that aren’t going to quit.” This may suggest Buffett thinks Paramount could be acquired. “We’ll see what happens,” he said.

The stock is down 50% over the past year and trades at just 10 times next year’s earnings estimates. It also goes for just a fraction of its sales and book value. But that’s also because of the very weak business Buffett alluded to. Sometimes a cheap stock is cheap for a reason. The discount, however, just might be enough to attract a buyer in the potential shakeout to come.

On the date of publication, Rich Duprey did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

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