At Insider Monkey we follow the investment picks of 59 billionaires every quarter after they submit their 13F filings to gain an insight into which way the wind is blowing on Wall Street according to these professional money managers. After analysing these holdings we have come up with a list of the 5 most popular stocks among them. While not all of them are on top of the market right now, in terms of their stock returns, they have gained the confidence of these billionaires who see promising returns from them in the future.
The first on this list is the banking giant Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) with a market cap of $286 billion. A total of 10 billionaires had nearly $27.24 billion invested in the company at the end of 2014. Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway and Mario Gabelli of GAMCO Investors have significant stakes in the bank holding company. While Buffett’s stake of 463.46 million shares with a market value of $25 billion remained unchanged from the third quarter, Gabelli decreased his stake by 3%. At the end of the fourth quarter he owned about 4.32 million shares valued at $236.82 million.
Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) is up nearly 19% over the last 52 weeks, and is currently trading at a forward earnings multiple of 12.18. The bank’s fourth quarter Earnings per Share (EPS) of $1.02 was in line with the estimates. The revenues for the quarter came in at $21.4 billion signifying a growth of 3.3% on a yearly basis.
The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO) was found in the equity portfolios of 11 billionaires with their stakes valued at about $18.17 billion in aggregate during the fourth quarter. One of the world’s largest beverage companies, with a market cap of $183.48 billion has been a long time favorite of Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett. His stake in the company remained unchanged during the fourth quarter and comprised 400 million shares valued at $16.89 billion, which formed 15.44% of his fund’s portfolio value. Another billionaire who had shown considerable interest in The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO) was David E. Shaw of D E Shaw, who increased his stake by 30%. He now owns 5.57 million shares valued at $235.14 million. Coca-Cola has also been the favorite of many hedge funds in the Consumer non-durables sector. Among the 737 hedge funds that we track at Insider Monkey, 58 of them had investments in the company valued at $22.45 billion. The stock is up 10.8% from a year earlier.
A total of 7 billionaires had stakes in American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) worth about $15.6 billion, according to the latest round of 13F filings. Warren Buffett and Mario Gabelli led the way again, with Buffett owning some 151.61 million shares valued at $14.11 billion. The investment formed 12.89% of Berkshire’s equity portfolio. Gabelli on the other hand slightly reduced his stake in American Express by 3%. His stake of 3.19 million shares valued at $296.76 million constitutes 1.54% of his portfolio’s value.
American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) is also one of the most popular financial stocks among hedge funds. At the end of the fourth quarter, 48 hedge funds held long positions in the company, with an aggregate value totaling $17.5 billion.
By posting an EPS of $1.39 against the expected $1.38, American Express beat estimates in its fourth quarter earnings report. Revenues also came in higher at $9.11 billion compared to the estimate of $8.46 billion. The payment technology company, which recently ended its exclusive relationship with Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), is trading at a favorable forward earnings multiple of 13.95.
Although the number of billionaires invested in Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B) stood at a modest number of 6, with the total value of their stakes amounting to $13.35 billion, the hedge fund interest in the holding company is staggering. A total of 78 hedge funds have positions valued at $21.41 billion in Warren Buffett’s firm. The Bill & Melinda Foundation Trust shed off about 5 million shares of Berkshire from its portfolio, but the position, much of which was donated to the Trust by Buffett himself, still amounts to 78.63 million shares valued at $11.81 billion, 59.04% of the Trust’s equity portfolio, versus 53.21% at the end of the third quarter.
Despite a nearly 12% drop in International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM)‘s stock price, 10 billionaires have piled about $13.34 billion into the ailing information technology company. One of the reasons is the cheap price of the stock for long term gains as the company is transitioning towards cloud computing and data analytics from more traditional services and hardware businesses.
Warren Buffet considerably increased his stake in the company by 10% during the October-December period. Berkshire held 76.97 million shares valued at $12.35 billion at the end of the fourth quarter. David Shaw also increased his stake in International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) by a whopping 153% during the last quarter. By the end of the calendar year his position of 3.37 million shares was valued at $540.73 million.