Stocks to buy

Plenty of investors are interested in the stocks that legendary investor Warren Buffett has selected for the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A, NYSE:BRK-B) equity portfolio. However, instead of buying every single stock in this category, you may want to focus mainly on the undervalued Buffett stocks instead.

Alongside the scores of “wonderful companies at a fair price” style investments held by Buffett’s firm, such as its large stakes in American Express (NYSE:AXP), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Berkshire portfolio holds scores of other stocks, many of which are arguably undervalued, and in some cases, deep value, stocks.

Although growth stocks have been crushing it thus far in 2023, long-term investors may want to focus on value stocks instead. According to a 2022 report from Dimension Fund Advisors, over a nearly century-long time frame, value stocks have beaten growth stocks by an average of 4.1% annually.

Given this, plus the fact that Buffett has crushed the market over a multi-decade time frame, the undervalued Buffett stocks currently in the Berkshire portfolio could end up generating above-average returns. Let’s take a look at seven of them, most of which are high-profile, and one of which is more under the radar.

Charter Communications (CHTR)

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Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) is one of America’s largest cable and internet service providers. Marketing its services under the brand name Spectrum, Charter has over 32 million customers in 41 U.S. states. As a GuruFocus commentator discussed in April, Buffett built up Berkshire’s position in CHTR stock during 2016 and 2017 but has since trimmed the position, taking advantage of Charter’s big run-up in price, before, during, and after the pandemic. Since 2021, Charter has declined sharply, due to concerns about slowing growth and rising debt.

Still, CHTR continues to be one of the Warren Buffett stocks. Berkshire currently holds a 2.5% stake, worth around $1.3 billion. Trading for just 11.1 times estimated 2023 earnings, and 9.2 times estimated 2024 earnings, it’s possible that Buffett is riding things out right now, with the intention of selling into strength, if/when earnings begin to jump again.

DaVita (DVA)

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Last year, DaVita (NYSE:DVA) seemed more like a “Buffett value trap” than an undervalued Buffett stock. In mid-2022, I discussed how uncertainty regarding healthcare stocks kicked off a sell-off in this dialysis center operator’s shares. At the time, I saw it as a buy.

Unfortunately, the DVA stock slide continued through year’s end, pushing it to the mid-$60s per share. Flash forward to now, however, and DaVita has started to make a comeback. The stock has bounced back to just under $100 per share. Better yet, even after this partial recovery, DVA may have more room to run. Trading for only 14.5 times forward earnings, analysts also forecast further steady increases in earnings per share (or EPS) during 2024 and 2025. This could mean further gains ahead for not just Berkshire, which owns a 39.8% stake in DVA, but for anyone deciding to buy it today.

General Motors (GM)

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Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) fans may think Buffett’s big bet on General Motors (NYSE:GM) is a foolish one. In their view, Tesla will thrive while this Detroit automaker will flounder, as EVs become a larger percentage of vehicles on the road. However, recent developments suggest this take is unwarranted.

As InvestorPlace’s Ian Bezek recently pointed out, the company’s Chevy Bolt EV is experiencing a sales surge. Far from getting left in the dust by Tesla, GM’s upcoming low-price, high-range Silverado electric truck could leave Tesla’s Cybertruck in the dust. Besides being a formidable EV contender, GM stock is also dirt-cheap, at 5.7 times earnings. This valuation prices in a possible recession, and leaves GM poised for a big rebound once economic conditions normalize. Rather than a Buffett stock to avoid, ignore the critics, and consider it one of the Buffett stocks to buy. It could outperform richly-priced TSLA from here.

Kroger (KR)

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From 2021, up until early 2022, Kroger (NYSE:KR) was one of the top-performing undervalued Warren Buffett stocks. At the time, the grocery chain operator was managing to stay ahead of rising inflation. Yet throughout 2022, inflation started to take a bite out of the company, causing shares to start moving lower. Last fall, Kroger’s announcement of plans to merge with Albertsons (NYSE:ACI) seemed like something that could get KR stock back on track. However, political and regulatory scrutiny casts doubt about the deal getting approved and completed. With this, why follow Buffett’s lead into Kroger?

Already knocked lower by these negatives, shares trade for just 10.2 times forward earnings. It may not take much positive news to spark a rebound for KR. While you wait, collect KR’s solid, growing dividend. Recently raised by 11.5%, Kroger’s current quarterly payouts give the stock a 2.5% forward yield.

Mitsubishi (MSBHF)

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Alongside the many high-profile U.S.-listed undervalued Warren Buffett stocks, there are quite a few international value stocks in the mix. Namely, shares in five Japanese general trading companies, one of which is Mitsubishi (OTCMKTS:MSBHF).

MSBHF stock and the four other names in this basket have performed very well since Buffett’s position in them became public knowledge. However, the “Oracle of Omaha” hasn’t started to cash out. Rather, Berkshire has raised its positions in each of them. Buffett’s firm appears ready to hold these names over a long time horizon.

This could prove to be very profitable, especially in the case of MSBHF. Not only do shares (trading for only 8 times earnings) have plenty of room for multiple expansions. As InvestorPlace’s Samuel O’Brient recently pointed out, Mitsubishi’s big move into EV battery metals like lithium and nickel could result in strong growth for the company.

Occidental Petroleum (OXY)

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Berkshire’s positions in blue chips like Apple and Coca-Cola may dwarf its position in Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY), but one can argue that Oxy has been the subject of the greatest level of chatter among Buffett stocks since 2022.

As you likely know, Buffett’s steady increase of Berkshire’s OXY stock position, coupled with soaring oil prices, led to strong returns for shares last year. This year, though, the stock has underperformed. Largely, due to sliding oil prices. Yet while the market leans bearish on oil stocks, Buffett remains very bullish on this one.

Continuing to buy shares, Berkshire now owns a more than 25% stake in this energy company. While this oil stock may not seem all that cheap at 12.5 times forward earnings, it’s possible Berkshire sees big value in the company’s carbon capture strategy. Carbon capture technology could help create a deep moat for this currently commoditized business.

Paramount Global (PARA)

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Paramount Global (NASDAQ:PARA) is one of the undervalued Buffett stocks that at first doesn’t appear all that undervalued. Shares in the media conglomerate today trade for around 24.3 times forward earnings, not exactly deep value territory.

Yet while PARA stock seems pricey relative to current earnings, two factors point to it being undervalued. First, weakness in advertising demand, plus expenses related to the buildout of its streaming businesses, have depressed earnings. Forecasts call for earnings to bounce back in a big way starting next year.

Second, given its extensive media properties and content library, PARA may be cheap relative to the value of its assets. Analysts at Wells Fargo have recently argued that the company may be worth $30 billion to a buyer like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). Even when accounting for debt, this suggests a strategic buyer could eventually emerge, offering to buy out investors at a big premium.

On the date of publication, Thomas Niel did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Thomas Niel, contributor for InvestorPlace.com, has been writing single-stock analysis for web-based publications since 2016.

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