Eight three percent of legendary investor Warren Buffett’s 47 positions were in the green Friday, though a few are off this year and one of those is a top-five position.
Stocks of the legendary investor and head of Berkshire Hathaway have had a relatively strong year – especially considering he tends toward big, high-quality companies that are not always the fastest growers. But some of his companies with the largest capitalizations proved top performers. Apple, with an $875.25 billion market cap, gained 46.6% and Visa, which has a $249.95 billion market cap, advanced 45.2%.
Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has had a strong year, but some of his stocks can still be had for a lower price this year. Photographer: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg
Of the mega caps that populate the highest weightings in his portfolio, only one, Kraft Heinz, lost some market value, falling 4%. Its path trailed the 20.5% rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.
Kraft Heinz has struggled with industry headwinds that pressured its sales. Its revenue in the third quarter eked a 0.7% gain to $6.3 billion from the third quarter the previous year.
“There’s no question that the retail environment, particularly in the United States, will remain both dynamic and challenging. However, the investments we’ve been making in our brands, our innovation pipeline, our people and our capabilities make us well-positioned to continue delivering sustainable, profitable growth in both the near and long term,” Kraft Heinz CEO Bernardo Hees said in a statement on third-quarter results.
The company’s earnings also increased 12.1% to $944 million, and earnings per share grew 11.6% to 77 cents.
Buffett held 325.4 million shares, or 26.7%, of the company at the end of the third quarter. Since his purchase, he has an approximate return of 13%.
Buffett’s worst performing stock was United Continental Holdings, the airline whose shares slid 13.1% year to date.
United Continental failed to improve its top line in the third quarter, posting $9.9 billion, roughly flat with the third quarter the previous year. The number included $210 million in revenue losses from inclement weather in the quarter. United also saw revenue per available seat mile drop 3.7%, as cargo revenue rose 14.7% to $257 million.
Operating expenses also increased 6% to $8.8 billion, as unit costs per available seat mile increased 3% due primarily to higher fuel and labor expenses.
Buffett owns 88.2 million shares of United Continental worth 9.5% of the company. He has an estimated gain of 3% on the holding he started in the third quarter of 2016.
Second on Buffett’s list of most-declining stocks is LiLAC Group, which slipped 5.3% year to date. LiLAC Group encompasses the Latin American and Caribbean wing of Liberty Global Group, the world’s largest international TV and broadband company.
LiLAC’s revenue in the third quarter held stead year over year at $0.4 billion, as hurricanes Irma and Maria negatively affected results. It also suffered an operating loss of $202 million, about flat from the previous year.
Buffett holds 2.72 million shares of LiLAC Group, which equals 1.59% of its outstanding shares. He has an loss on the holding of approximately 48%.