Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. regained its ranking as the favorite stock pick among U.S. and Canadian multimillionaires, beating Apple Inc. and fending off the increasing preference for exchange-traded funds.
Members of Tiger 21, a New York-based group of wealthy investors, selected Berkshire in an annual survey of preferred investments scheduled to be released today. Apple, which had held the No. 1 spot the last two years, slipped to No. 2.
“The bloom is off of Apple,” Michael Sonnenfeldt, founder and chairman of Tiger 21, said in an interview. “For people who held Berkshire Hathaway it’s held its appeal, but for Apple, a lot of people who were on that ride have realized that perhaps the best days are behind it.”
Apple’s share price has fallen by more than one-fourth from its September 2012 record high as the Cupertino, California- based company battles lower-cost rivals and seeks to prove it can innovate without co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011. The Berkshire choice shows members’ satisfaction with Buffett’s investing strategy even as the 83-year-old chief executive officer won’t publicly identify a successor.
Qualcomm Inc., the biggest maker of chips for mobile phones, was the other individual stock among members’ top five. The San Diego-based company surged to No. 4 from No. 20 last year. The top five included two ETFs for the first time: The iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund was No. 3 and the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ranked No. 5.
Berkshire, based in Omaha, Nebraska, soared in its first 25 years under Buffett as the billionaire transformed a textile maker into an insurer and placed winning bets on stocks such as Capital Cities/ABC Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. More recently, he’s expanded by buying whole companies such as railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
Berkshire has risen 31 percent this year, compared with a 22 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. The stock had dropped to No. 3 in last year’s survey after being No. 2 in 2011 and No. 1 in 2010.
Tiger 21 is a network of 220 entrepreneurs, investors and executives who have at least $10 million in investable assets each and more than $20 billion combined. Members, whose average age is 55, meet monthly in seven cities in the U.S. and four in Canada to share ideas. They pay annual membership fees of $30,000.
Members had, on average, 24 percent of assets in stocks, 21 percent in real estate, 19 percent in private equity, 15 percent in fixed income, 11 percent in cash, 8 percent in hedge funds, 1 percent in commodities and 1 percent in miscellaneous investments as of Sept. 30, according to a separate report from the group.