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Should Wal-Mart Investors Be Concerned That The Retailer Isn't Attractive Enough For Warren Buffett?

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Should Wal-Mart Investors Be Concerned That The Retailer Isn't Attractive Enough For Warren Buffett?

One of the most commonly used investing strategies among both novice and experts is coattail investing — buying the same stocks multi-billionaires buy. The reverse theory can also hold true, and strict followers of the coattail investing theory should be selling whatever stocks the pros are selling.

Buffett And Wal-Mart

Warren Buffett, perhaps the greatest investor of all time, continues to shed his stake in retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT). A Bloomberg report noted that Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A) (NYSE: BRK.B) now holds 13 million shares of Wal-Mart, down from 60 million shares in 2014.

Wal-Mart was once one of Buffett's five largest equity positions, but today it doesn't even rank in his top 15 holdings.

Wal-Mart's woes are far from a secret. The retailer's online ambitions and growth lag some of its peers and playing catch-up against Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) could come at the expense of jeopardizing its margins.

Edward Jones Commentary

Brian Yarbrough, an analyst with Edward Jones told Bloomberg that Buffett's investment in Wal-Mart was a mistake, and Buffett himself tactically acknowledged this may be the case.

“It is a big, big force and it has already disrupted plenty of people and it will disrupt more,” Bloomberg quoted Buffett as saying in reference to Amazon. He added that many competitors, “including us in a few areas, have not figured the way to either participate in it, or to counter it.”

Buffett also said that he isn't even going to try to beat Amazon, and his other businesses are immune to the growing trend of e-commerce. Nevertheless, he did acknowledge that online shopping is a "huge economic trend" that many failed to fully understand 20 years ago but now it is on everybody's radar screen.

Image Credit: By Daniel Case (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Latest Ratings for WMT

DateFirmActionFromTo
Feb 2021Morgan StanleyMaintainsOverweight
Feb 2021Morgan StanleyMaintainsOverweight
Feb 2021Raymond JamesMaintainsOutperform

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