Warren Buffett Goes Shopping

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

It's not surprising that mimicking Warren Buffett's moves over the years would leave you well ahead of the pack. That's why it's great news that as an elephant-sized investment vehicle, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B  ) is required periodically to report some of its investment moves.

So what's the Oracle been up to lately? Nothing all that revealing, unfortunately. Save for his recent foray involving Mars' takeover of Wrigley (NYSE: WWY  ) , much of Buffett's public activity came in the form of adding to existing positions.

During the first quarter, Berkshire purchased more than 6 million shares of Kraft Food (NYSE: KFT  ) , just over a year off its divesture from former majority owner Altria. Berkshire continued its campaign to exploit railroads' newfound competitive advantage by purchasing an additional 3 million shares of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (NYSE: BNI  ) . It also upped its stake in health insurers UnitedHeath (NYSE: UNH  ) and WellPoint, both of which have seen shares crumble in the past year.  

If anything did turn a few heads, it was that Berkshire has been buying shares of bank stocks, despite an industry gone haywire. Always ready to take advantage of the market's foul mood, Berkshire added to its positions in Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) and US Bancorp (NYSE: USB  ) , both of which have held up substantially better than most of their peers in the past year.

Having Buffett's approval on these stocks will likely be seen as a vote of confidence and a telling sign that not all hope is lost amid this year's financial-sector chaos.

What's next?
Trying to beat Buffett to the punch is about as fruitless as trying to beat Yoda at a game of Jeopardy!, but searching for a group of companies that fits Buffett's known parameters isn't a bad path to follow. With more than $35 billion in cash at last count, Berkshire has the ammo to gobble up nearly anything it desires.

Rest assured, when Buffett does make a major move, investors worldwide will be waiting eagerly for more direction from one of the world's richest men.

Read the Fool's report from Berkshire Hathaway's recent annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Neb.

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