11 Stocks Warren Buffett Loves for 2015: IBM, Wal-Mart and More

NEW YORK (Stockpickr) -- At Stockpickr, we track the top holdings of a variety of high-profile investors, such as George Soros and Carl Icahn.

It should come as no surprise that the most popular of these portfolios is that of renowned investor Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) and one of the richest people in the world.

Today we're taking a closer look at 11 stocks that Buffett bought in the most recently reported quarter, based on Berkshire Hathaway's most recent quarterly 13F filing with the SEC, which reflects holdings as of Sept. 30, 2014. They are ordered by position size. (He also initiated positions comprising less than 0.1% of his portfolio in Liberty Broadband ( (LBRDK) ) and Express Scripts ( (ESRX) ).

11. MasterCard

MasterCard (MA) comprises 0.3% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio. Buffett increased his stake in the stock by 16.4% to 4.7 million shares in the most recently reported quarter.

TheStreet Ratings team rates MasterCard as a buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate MasterCard (MA) a buy. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 20.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • MA's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.23 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, MA has a quick ratio of 1.56, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • MasterCard has improved earnings per share by 19.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, MasterCard increased its bottom line by earning $2.57 versus $2.19 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.08 versus $2.57).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the IT Services industry average. The net income increased by 15.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $879.00 million to $1,015.00 million.
  • The gross profit margin for MasterCard is rather high; currently it is at 60.05%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 40.55% significantly outperformed against the industry average.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: MA Ratings Report

10. Visa

Visa (V) comprises 0.4% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio. The 2.2 million-share position is a 19.3% increase over the previous quarter.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Visa as a buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Visa (V) a buy. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 20.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.6%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • V has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.35, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The gross profit margin for Visa is rather high; currently it is at 65.56%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 33.23% is above that of the industry average.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the IT Services industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, Visa has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • Visa's earnings per share declined by 7.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, Visa increased its bottom line by earning $8.61 versus $7.58 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($10.40 versus $8.61).

You can view the full analysis from the report here: V Ratings Report

9. Liberty Global

Liberty Global (LBTYA) comprises 0.4% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio. The 10.4 million-share position is a 5.4% increase over the previous quarter.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Liberty Global as a hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Liberty Global (LBTYA) a hold. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company has favored debt over equity in the management of its balance sheet."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Media industry. The net income increased by 118.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$830.10 million to $157.10 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 8.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $1,153.40 million or 3.00% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, Liberty Global's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 17.49%.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Media industry and the overall market, Liberty Global's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Although LBTYA's debt-to-equity ratio of 3.76 is very high, it is currently less than that of the industry average. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.27, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: LBTYA Ratings Report

8. Precision Castparts

Precision Castparts (PCP) comprises 0.5% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio. The 2.1 million-share position was an 11% increase over the previous quarter.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Precision Castparts as a buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Precision Castparts (PCP) a buy. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, growth in earnings per share, notable return on equity and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • PCP's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.35, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels.
  • Precision Castparts has improved earnings per share by 5.1% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, Precision Castparts increased its bottom line by earning $11.95 versus $9.75 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($13.22 versus $11.95).
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Aerospace & Defense industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, Precision Castparts has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Aerospace & Defense industry average. The net income increased by 2.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $433.00 million to $445.00 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: PCP Ratings Report

7. Suncor Energy

Suncor Energy (SU) comprises 0.6% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio. The 18.5 million-share position was a 12.3% increase over the previous quarter.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Suncor Energy as a buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Suncor Energy (SU) a buy. This is driven by several positive factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • SU's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.28 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.05, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,905.00 million or 15.27% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -2.42%.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 6.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 1.1%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Suncor Energy's earnings per share declined by 45.1% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, Suncor Energy increased its bottom line by earning $2.59 versus $1.74 in the prior year.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: SU Ratings Report

6. Viacom

Viacom (VIAB) comprises 0.6% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio. The 7.7 million-share position was 1.3% increase over the previous quarter.

There is no TheStreet Ratings data on this stock.

5. Charter Communications

Charter Communications (CHTR) comprises 0.7% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio. Buffett increased his position in the stock by 114.4% to 4.95 million shares in the most recently reported quarter.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Charter Communications as a hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Charter Communications (CHTR) a hold. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and revenue growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • Charter Communications has improved earnings per share by 27.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, Charter CommunicationsC continued to lose money by earning -$1.71 versus -$3.07 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$1.29 versus -$1.71).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Media industry average. The net income increased by 24.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from -$70.00 million to -$53.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $520.00 million or 3.34% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 181.39 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.18, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: CHTR Ratings Report

4. General Motors

General Motors (GM) comprises 1.2% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio. The 40 million-share position is a 21.4% increase over the previous quarter.

TheStreet Ratings team rates General Motors as a buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate General Motors (GM) a buy. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 17.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.96, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.83 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • General Motors reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, General Motors reported lower earnings of $2.35 versus $2.93 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.63 versus $2.35).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Automobiles industry. The net income has decreased by 14.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $1,717.00 million to $1,471.00 million.
  • GM has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 12.84% from its price level of one year ago. Despite the decline in its share price over the last year, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays compensate for this.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: GM Ratings Report

3. DirecTV

DirecTV (DTV) comprises 2.4% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio. The 30 million-share position is a 27.8% increase over the previous quarter.

TheStreet Ratings team rates DirecTV as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate DirecTV (DTV) a hold. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that net income has been generally deteriorating over time."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 8.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.3%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,662.00 million or 23.56% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, DirecTV has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 17.49%.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • DirecTV's earnings per share declined by 5.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, DirecTV increased its bottom line by earning $5.19 versus $4.61 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.94 versus $5.19).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Media industry. The net income has decreased by 12.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $699.00 million to $611.00 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: DTV Ratings Report

2. Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart (WMT) comprises 4.3% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio and is Buffett's fifth-largest holding. The 60.4 million-share position is a 2.7% increase over the previous quarter.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Wal-Mart Stores as a buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Wal-Mart (WMT) a buy. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share and reasonable valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • WMT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 72.54% to $3,570.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 54.48%.
  • Wal-Mart reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, Wal-Mart reported lower earnings of $4.86 versus $5.01 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.00 versus $4.86).

You can view the full analysis from the report here: WMT Ratings Report

1. IBM

International Business Machines (IBM) comprises 12.4% of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio. The 70.5 million-share position is a 0.4% increase over the previous quarter.

TheStreet Ratings team rates International Business Machines as a hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate IBM (IBM) a hold. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. Among the primary strengths of the company is its respectable return on equity which we feel is likely to continue. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and generally higher debt management risk."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the IT Services industry and the overall market, IBM's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • IBM's earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, IBM increased its bottom line by earning $15.68 versus $15.34 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($16.00 versus $15.68).
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 20.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 12.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the IT Services industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 11.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $6,184.00 million to $5,484.00 million.
  • Reflecting the weaknesses we have cited, including the decline in the company's earnings per share, IBM has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 14.74% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: IBM Ratings Report

For Warren Buffett's top 30 holdings, visit the Warren Buffett portfolio at Stockpickr.

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