Warren Buffett is the world’s
oldest man most successful investor. Perhaps his success can be attributed to the fact that he was still a boy when stocks were invented, way back when the Dutch East India Company issued the first stock in 1602. Since then, he has continued to wow investors with his ability to remain grounded while the rest of the world froths at the mouth about the latest stock fad.
(Sometimes he’s called “Warren Buffet” by people who can’t spell and who don’t realize that it makes the the investing genius sound like the name of a family-friendly restaurant offering $6.99 buffet specials and where kids eat free on Tuesdays)
We wanted to know: Does Warren Buffett own sin stocks? A question so important and profound that we had to link it back to this blog post, thus creating a mobius loop.
The short answer is: Yes. Yes, he does.
We checked his Berkshire Hathaway portfolio on CNBC. In fact, he holds a couple of sin stocks directly, and he enjoys some indirect benefits from sin stocks as well.
WARREN BUFFETT’S SIN STOCK HOLDINGS – DIRECT
- General Electric (GE) (specifically, GE Intelligent Platforms) provides all kinds of technology for military and defense purposes. I’m sure their other divisions (big-ass machinery, big-ass marine, big-ass rail, big-ass power generators) may also be used by military.
- IBM (IBM) has an aerospace and defense division that provides various software solutions to the military.
While GE and IBM are pretty tame as far as sin stocks go, they do supply the defense industry and that makes them defense sin stocks.
WARREN BUFFETT’S SIN STOCK HOLDINGS – INDIRECT
- Buffett owns stock in both Costco and Walmart, and both of those companies sell cigarettes. Sure, smokes aren’t their only product and they certainly won’t go out of business if they stopped selling them but they’re not likely going to stop selling them any time soon. Moreover, Walmart and Costco both benefit when people buy cigarettes — not only because of profit from sales but also because I’m pretty sure no one in the world would go and wait in those ridiculous line-ups only to buy cigarettes. That what you have CONVENIENCE stores for. So any cigarette purchase at Costco or Walmart will also come with other purchases too — milk, beef jerky, a can of soup, etc.
So yes, I am reporting the groundbreaking news that Warren Buffett does not, at this time, own GD, MO, or PM… but he certainly owns things that once were related.
Buffett says he only invests in things he understands. I certainly understand that, as a conservative investor, he probably wouldn’t invest in marijuana stocks or gambling stocks. But I’m surprised he doesn’t invest in alcohol sin stocks or tobacco sin stocks. Perhaps when I get to be 1,000,000,000,000 years old, I might change my mind about sin stocks too.
(Note: This blog post was written on November 24, 2014 and was accurate with the information available at the time.)