Buffett's Favorites Draw Mixed Reviews

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Given the mix of winners and losers we have seen during the opening weeks of earnings season, it has likely been difficult for many stock pickers to avoid navigating the markets without a setback. Even Warren Buffett has seen a blend of both strength and weakness from the companies in his legendary portfolio.

This week has been an important one for fans of the Oracle of Omaha. Over the past few days, some of the largest names in the Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.A) stock portfolio have reported their earnings over the past quarter and provided insight into the closing months of the year.

Of particular importance were Coca-Cola ( KO), Wells Fargo ( WFC) and American Express ( AXP), which represent the three largest slices of the portfolio.

Buffett's stock portfolio casts a wide net across the broad market spectrum, offering exposure to financials, industrials, consumer goods, energy and other sectors. From an individual holdings perspective, however, the lineup is notably concentrated. Together KO, WFC, and AXP represent nearly 60% of the total assets.

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Swirling macroeconomic turbulence appears to have had only a limited effect on consumer demand for soft drinks over the past few months. Over the most recent three-month period, Coca-Cola reported an earnings growth of more than 8%. A Wall Street Journal report notes that, excluding charges including restructuring costs, the company was able to outpace analyst estimates.

Despite this strength, the firm recognized that the road ahead is not entirely smooth as continued global economic turmoil and rising commodity costs are among the challenges they face.

Berkshire's No. 3 holding, American Express, also fared favorably over the past three months, beating forecasts.

Company executives pointed to consumer resilience as a major source of strength for the credit card giant over the quarter. In his statement included in the company's earnings press release, CEO Kenneth Chenault noted that card-member spending jumped 16% to a record level. Looking ahead, the company appears cautiously optimistic. Economic issues remain a cause for concern. However, Chenault mentions that AXP has taken a number of steps that have improved its competitiveness.

Coca-Cola and American Express saw notable strength over the past three months. The report from Wells Fargo left something to be desired.

Interestingly, compared to other Wall Street giants, Wells Fargo appeared strong. Following the sub-par performances from JPMorgan ( JPM) and Goldman Sachs ( GS), the company managed to report earnings numbers that fell in line with analyst expectations.

Any optimism was quickly offset by market commentators who were quick to point out the effects that impact of looming issues facing the broad banking industry on the firm. Of particular concern was Wells' weak revenue numbers.

Shares of WFC took a heavy hit as investors steered clear of the California-based bank following its tepid report.

For popular Buffett stocks, the opening weeks of earnings season have been a mixed bag. Looking ahead to the last full week of October, investors can expect to hear from other Berkshire notables including ConocoPhillips ( COP) and Procter & Gamble ( PG). The two are slated to report earnings on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management did not own any of the equities mentioned.

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