When Warren Buffett speaks, people tend to listen. And for good reason. Through his company, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B -0.70%), Buffett has had investing success not replicated by many. Luckily for investors, Berkshire Hathaway's holdings are readily available, so you can get insight into what Buffett and his team invest in.

If you're looking for two Buffett stocks to buy and hold forever, look no further.


When it comes to payment processing, it's basically a duopoly between Visa (V 0.32%) and Mastercard. Still, there's a sizable gap between the two regarding reach. With over 80 million merchant locations worldwide accepting Visa, you'd be hard-pressed to find a place that accepts cards but not Visa.

The competitive moat Visa has been able to form with its merchant reach is one of the main things that attracts Buffett to the company. It's also the reason Visa is primed for long-term success. In the past three years, the company has added 19 million merchants, signaling that it's growing at a pace that will be hard for competitors to keep up with or reach anytime soon.

Visa's core business model is simple: When somebody uses a Visa card to pay for something or uses Visa infrastructure to accept card payments, the company takes a percentage. So the more merchants accepting Visa, the merrier. Since higher inflation means costlier bills, Visa has been on the good side of the economy in the past year. Add in the billions the company receives from licensing and account holder services, and Visa continues to be a cash cow.

In its fiscal 2022 (ended Sept. 30), Visa had more than $29.3 billion in revenue. That's up from $24.1 billion in 2021 and $21.8 billion in 2020. Maybe more important is the fact that Visa operates with high margins. Most of the investments to expand its network have been in place for many years, so it's not costing the company much to generate current revenue.

With margins hovering in the 80% range, there are very few companies in any industry that can compare.

Chart showing Visa's gross profit margin much higher than Apple's since 2018.

Data by YCharts.


You don't become the most valuable public company in the world by accident. Through some of the most innovative products of our time, Apple (AAPL 0.55%) has built a brand and brand loyalty that makes it the cream of the crop, not in just the tech world, but arguably the business world as a whole.

Apple is by far Berkshire Hathaway's largest holding in its publicly traded portfolio, accounting for over 41% of it. It also bought an additional 334,000 shares of Apple in its fiscal year 2022 fourth quarter. That should tell you how much faith Buffett has in the company.

Apple's fiscal 2023 first-quarter revenue declined by 5% year over year, but it still stands at an admirable $117.2 billion. For perspective, that's more than the full 2022 revenues of Nike, Salesforce, and Capital One combined. Still, it's a bit unusual to see revenue decline from Apple.

This shouldn't worry long-term investors, though. Apple's revenue slide is largely due to a drop in iPhone sales (around 56% of its revenue), bringing in roughly $5.85 billion less than in FY22 Q1. Smartphone sales have plummeted across the board, so this isn't just an Apple and iPhone issue. And it's not likely to be a long-term problem.

Revenue aside, what should excite long-term Apple investors is that its active devices crossed the 2 billion mark. That's 500 million more than at the start of 2020. As more people use Apple devices -- whether it's the iPhone, iPad, or Mac -- the more they use Apple services. Apple's service segment set a revenue record in its last quarter, bringing in $20.8 billion (up $1.3 billion year over year).

Apple's foreseeable growth will likely be in the hands of its services segment, but that's a good thing. Apple has been slowly easing into both financial and health services, and even a modest amount of success in those industries could pay off big time for the company. The stock isn't "cheap" right now per se, but it's still a great buy and hold at current prices.