If you're looking to invest like Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, keeping up with purchases and sales through the company's public disclosures makes it easy enough to do. Notably, outside of repurchasing roughly $2.6 billion worth of its own stock in the period, Berkshire invested in only a handful of other companies in the fourth quarter.
The company continued to increase its stake in oil business Occidental Petroleum and its stake in construction materials company Louisiana-Pacific. But Buffett's company also bought two other stocks that look like worthwhile plays for long-term investors right now. Read on for a look at two recent Berkshire buys that could be top investment vehicles if you're looking to put some money to work.
With Apple (AAPL 1.83%) standing as by far the largest equity holding in the Berkshire portfolio, it's clear Buffett has a lot of confidence in the tech giant. Even with Berkshire taking a relatively cautious approach to the market in Q4, the holding company remains a big believer in Apple stock. The iPhone company's shares account for roughly 39% of Berkshire's total direct stock holdings.
As Buffett wrote in his recent letter to shareholders, “Over time, it takes just a few winners to work wonders,” and Apple has certainly been a big winner for Berkshire. The investment conglomerate first began buying Apple shares in the first quarter of 2016, and the stock has played a bigger role than any other in powering Berkshire to market-beating returns since then.
Apple frequently ranks as the world's most profitable company and has only occasionally ceded that title to energy giant Saudi Aramco in recent years. Capturing roughly 85% of global operating income in the smartphone market last year, Apple's dominant position in mobile plays a huge role in powering its world-beating profits. But the company also scores wins with tablets, computers, wearables, and its software and services ecosystem.
Backed by its penchant for sleek aesthetics, emphasis on easy-to-use design philosophies, and incredible brand strength, the company may also find big success with emerging product categories, including augmented-reality hardware and services and smart cars.
Even after climbing roughly 14% year to date, Apple stock trades down approximately 18% from its high, and there's a good chance the highly profitable tech player will eventually go on to reach new valuation heights. Apple stock should be a no-brainer for those looking to invest like Buffett.
2. Paramount Global
Setting aside Berkshire Hathaway's own share buybacks, Paramount Global (PARA -1.74%) has the distinction of being one of only four stocks purchased by the investment conglomerate in the fourth quarter. Buffett made his name in the investing world by using value-oriented strategies and pouncing on opportunities in which it seemed stocks were trading below their intrinsic values. And the investment in Paramount seems to be a play in that classic vein. The media stock trades down roughly 80% from its peak, and shares look attractively valued at today's prices.
Buoyed by incredible box office success, led by Top Gun: Maverick and its roughly $1.5 billion in global ticket sales, Paramount posted great profits last year and trades at less than 12.5 times trailing earnings. With expectations for softer theatrical performance and continued weakness in the TV advertising market, the company will likely be significantly less profitable this year. It trades at roughly 24 times expected forward earnings but continues to look cheap along other metrics.
At today's prices, Paramount trades at less than 60% of its book value. While the company does carry long-term debt of roughly $15.6 billion against its roughly $2.8 billion cash-and-equivalents position, the business is profitable and rapidly making inroads in the streaming space.
Despite a 7% year-over-year decline for the TV media segment that made up roughly 72% of total sales in Q4, a strong performance for streaming helped push overall revenue up 2% to reach $8.1 billion in the period. Revenue growth of 81% for the Paramount+ streaming service helped drive sales up 30% for the direct-to-consumer segment, and the streaming platform added a best-ever 9.9 million new subscribers.
With its encouraging momentum in the streaming space and the stock looking cheap on a price-to-book-value basis, Paramount is a value-oriented turnaround play worth getting behind.
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Originally published on Fool.com