3 Riskier Warren Buffett Stocks That Could Beat the Dow – The Motley Fool

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Warren Buffett and his company Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A 0.08%)(BRK.B 0.31%) have a long track record of beating the broader market indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Between 1965 and 2020, Berkshire’s stock has posted an annual average return of about 20%, while the Dow has an average annual return of roughly 7.75% between 1921 and 2019. 

A big part of this is due to Buffett and Berkshire’s more than $350 billion stock portfolio. While some stocks like Apple and Bank of America make up a huge percentage of the portfolio and are likely ones that Buffett and Berkshire consider to be safer, there are other smaller picks in the portfolio that Buffett and Berkshire may deem to be riskier but that also have much more potential upside. Here are three riskier Buffett stocks that can beat the Dow on a long-term basis.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

1. Citigroup

As a shareholder, I was thrilled to see Buffett and Berkshire snag shares of Citigroup (C -0.21%) in the first quarter of this year. The bank has struggled for years to generate the same kind of returns as its large bank peers, leading many to believe it’s a value trap. Citigroup has on numerous occasions traded below its tangible book value (TBV), or net worth, over the last decade. But this is the first time Berkshire has purchased the stock since 2001, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

In my view, it looks like this time may indeed be different with CEO Jane Fraser, who only took the reins of the bank about a year ago, planning major strategic changes including selling most of the bank’s international consumer banking divisions, doubling down on areas of strength, and finally investing what is needed to fix regulatory issues.

The big risk here is that the transformation could still be a multi-year journey and investors are running out of patience, so there is very little margin for error and this is a stock that could continue to be a value trap. But trading at just 67% to its TBV, the stock has about 47% upside just to get back to TBV, which would still not even be considered a good valuation in today’s banking industry.

Citigroup’s investment banking unit, large U.S. deposit market share, and extremely global presence are certain attributes that would be difficult to replicate. The bank also has a dividend yield of roughly 3.8%, which will compensate investors nicely while they wait for the transformation plan to play out.

2. Ally Financial

The large digital bank and auto lender Ally Financial (ALLY 1.58%) is another stock that Berkshire scooped up at the beginning of this year that has a lot of the attributes of a classic Buffett stock. Not only does Ally trade at a cheap valuation, but it also returns a good amount of capital to shareholders. Despite generating strong returns in 2021 and guiding for smaller but still impressive returns going forward, Ally only trades at about 116% to its TBV and 5.6 times forward earnings.

Ally faces a few big risks. There could be a recession sometime in the near future that makes consumers default on their loans at higher rates than management is currently anticipating. There are also concerns over what will happen to used-car prices, which have been elevated, although Ally’s management team is anticipating prices to eventually come down. Higher interest rates could also raise Ally’s deposit costs and cut into margins, although the bank has significantly increased its retail deposit base in recent years.

Still, if Ally can overcome some of these near-term headwinds and still generate good returns, the stock will likely get rerated. Ally also returns a lot of capital to shareholders and is planning to execute a $2 billion stock buyback plan this year alone.

3. Nu Holdings

Berkshire has clearly taken an interest in Latin America’s growing financial sector, and with good reason given the massive potential. Last year, Berkshire invested in the Brazilian challenger bank Nu Holdings (NU 16.69%), which has made massive progress with its frictionless, low-fee banking experience. Nu has acquired close to 60 million customers with a low, industry-leading customer acquisition cost. Nu currently banks 33% of the adult Brazilian population and has provided millions of its customers with their first bank account or credit card. Nu is also growing in Mexico and Colombia.

The risk here is that the Latin American market can be difficult, given high levels of inflation and volatile economic conditions. Furthermore, Nu is not yet profitable and will likely face lots of competition. But the company is growing revenue significantly and after the huge sell-off of growth stocks this year, investors have the rare opportunity to buy Nu stock at a much cheaper valuation than when Buffett or Berkshire got in. Nu is a leading digital disruptor in one of the world’s fastest-growing regions for banking.

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