The Stocks Warren Buffett is Buying

Warren Buffett has gotten a lot of headlines recently for his critical assessment of the U.S. tax code.

But don't forget that Buffett became one of the world's wealthiest men through his career as an investor - not a political pundit.

For that reason, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B) is one of the most successful and widely followed companies in the world.

In fact, a 2007 study by two university professors entitled "Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery" showed that buying what Buffett buys - even a month after his purchases - is a pathway to superior returns.

"The market ... appears to under-react to the news of a Berkshire stock investment since a hypothetical portfolio that mimics Berkshire's investments created the month after they are publicly disclosed earns positive abnormal returns of 14.26% per year," the study said.

And right now Berkshire is making big moves.

Buffett is Bullish

The company bought $24 billion worth of stock in the third quarter of 2011 - the most in at least 15 years.

Since then the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 have rallied some 20%.

An SEC filing in November showed Buffett waded into such companies as General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE: GD), DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV), CVS Caremark Corp. (NYSE: CVS), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V).

And regulatory filings for the fourth quarter released this week showed more of the same. Buffett quadrupled Berkshire's stake in DirecTV and added to its holdings in Visa, CVS, General Dynamics, and Wells Fargo.

Berkshire also bought shares in Liberty Media Corp. (Nasdaq: LMCA), which owns the Starz television network, and dialysis provider DaVita Inc. (NYSE: DVA).

These purchases reflect Buffett's long-held and proven philosophy that stocks are better long-term investments than gold and bonds.

"Whether the currency a century from now is based on gold, seashells, shark teeth, or a piece of paper (as today), people will be willing to exchange a couple of minutes of their daily labor for a Coca-Cola or some See's peanut brittle," Buffett recently wrote in Fortune magazine.

Clearly, given his recent stock purchases, Buffett expects entertainment to endure any potential economic collapse.

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