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3 Stocks Warren Buffett Would Love

By David Jagielski – May 27, 2020 at 8:26AM

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These stocks wouldn't look out of place in the billionaire investor's portfolio.

Warren Buffett isn't going to invest in every good value stock that's available on the markets -- there are just too many of them out there. And while there are plenty of good stocks that his company, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A 0.01%) (BRK.B -0.57%) holds in its portfolio today, there are many others that would be suitable stocks for Buffett to consider investing in as well.

With a good mix of value, stability, and moat, the three stocks listed below could appeal to investors who want to invest like the Oracle of Omaha.

1. Walgreens

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA 1.84%) is a household name and the pharmacy retailer provides many day-to-day essentials for customers. Buffett values moat and a company's ability to maintain a competitive advantage, and that's why Walgreens makes this list.

The company's strong brand is what makes Walgreens a stable, long-term investment that investors can hang on to for many years. And the proof is in its financial results. The company has continued to pump out good numbers even though people can buy similar items online or from other big-box stores.

Piggy bank sitting on top of a calculator.

Image source: Getty Images.

Walgreens has created goodwill with its customers over the years, and that's translated into stability for investors. For nine straight quarters, the company's sales have not fallen below $33 billion. The company generated sales growth of just 3.7% in the first quarter results that it released on April 2, along with a modest profit of $946 million.

But that's par for the course for the Illinois-based company that's consistently recorded a profit in each of its last 10 quarterly results. Although its profit margin typically hasn't come in much higher than 3%, Walgreens hasn't had any trouble staying in the black.

Currently, Walgreens' stock trades at around 10 times its earnings, offering very good value to investors. And with the stock down 24% in the past year, the Dividend Aristocrat is now paying a dividend yield of 4.6% which is well above the S&P 500 average of 2%.

With dividends, good value, and a strong brand name, Walgreens is a stock that would be a great fit for Buffett's portfolio.

2. Royal Bank of Canada

Royal Bank of Canada (RY -0.59%) is a solid financial stock that would surely appeal to Buffett. The top bank stock in Canada offers a great way for investors to diversify outside the U.S. market. It's a low-risk option that, like Walgreens, pays a great dividend and offers a lot of consistency. One of the reasons Buffett loves bank stocks is that they're safe investments that continually produce profits and rise in value over the years. And Royal Bank is no exception to that.

Over the past 10 quarters, the bank's profit margin has consistently stayed above 25%. Even with an economic downturn potentially weighing down the company's near-term results, there's plenty of room for the big bank to absorb a hit to its financials. What makes the stock an even more appealing buy is that its shares are down more than 20% in the past 12 months, with the COVID-19 market crash this year putting the stock at levels not seen since 2016.

The stock currently trades at less than 10 times its earnings and pays a dividend that yields 5.1% annually.

3. Starbucks

Starbucks (SBUX 0.24%) is a bit more of an expensive buy than the other two stocks on this list, but given the growth and the wide moat that the company has, it's a stock that Buffett would likely have little hesitation about holding in his portfolio. One reason it may not already be there is because of Buffett's investment in Coca-Cola. Adding Starbucks may not provide sufficient diversification for Berkshire's portfolio, especially since Coca-Cola is one of its largest holdings with a value of around $18 billion.

Like Coca-Cola, one of the most attractive features Starbucks has is its name. Starbucks has become synonymous with coffee all over the world, and that's why its position as a market leader remains a safe one. In the short term, the COVID-19 pandemic has weighed on the company's performance this year as it's had to shut down stores and reduce operations. When the company released its second-quarter results on April 28, sales were down 5% from the prior-year period. However, that was up until the end of March when the pandemic was still in its early stages. In the third quarter, the company's likely to feel more of an impact from COVID-19.

However, over the long term, Starbucks still looks like a solid buy. Consumers are still going to buy coffee whether they're working at home or in the office. And even if Starbucks has to make more use of its drive-thrus to ensure social distancing, that's probably a more attractive option for customers who are on the go, anyway.

Currently trading at 28 times its earnings, Starbucks is not as cheap as the other stocks on this list, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be a Buffett buy. Not unlike its premium coffee, investors have to pay a bit of a premium to own a piece of this top coffee company as well. And with Starbucks paying a dividend yield of 2.1% per year, that'll likely help endear the stock even more to Buffett. 

Despite the COVID-19 volatility, shares of Starbucks are down just 1% from where they were a year ago. The Seattle-based coffee company has come the closest of the three stocks here to beating the S&P 500, which is up around 3% during the past 12 months.

Which is the best stock to buy today?

All three stocks are good long-term buys, but if you want to minimize your risk, Walgreens may be the best stock to invest in right now. With a top dividend yield and the healthcare stock trading at a discount, it gives investors a good mix of recurring income and value.

David Jagielski has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and Starbucks and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2021 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), and short June 2020 $205 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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