These 2 Market Moves Cost Buffett $713 Million

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Nati Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock (6124058a)Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett speaks during an interview with Liz Claman on the Fox Business Network in Omaha, Neb.
Nati Harnik/AP/REX /

Billionaire Warren Buffett has the investment philosophy of holding onto blue-chip stocks that are part of the S&P 500 indefinitely. But in the second quarter of 2020, amidst the worst of the pandemic, Buffet sold off Berkshire Hathaway’s shares of Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) and United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL).

See: Beaten-Down Stocks Likely to Bounce Back After COVID-19
Find: Invest Like Buffett – Chevron Stock Could Be Your Next Great Move

It wasn’t a surprising move, as the commercial airlines industry seemed doomed, at least for the foreseeable future, and Occidental had the distinction of the “worst stock in the S&P 500 in 2020,” Investor’s Business Daily reports.

However, United Airlines has soared more than 30% in 2021, while Occidental holds a ranking as the fourth-best stock in the S&P this year, up 77%, says IBD. The publication gives Occidental a Relative Strength rating of 88, meaning it’s outperforming 88% of other stocks on the market.

While the move may have taken a chunk out of Buffett’s wealth, he remains the sixth-richest man in the world, with a net worth of $97.2 billion, according to The World’s Real-Time Billionaires list from Forbes. Although Berkshire Hathaway lost $713 million with the transactions, stocks for the firm remain up 13.5%, IBD reports. However, Apple, which represents nearly half of Buffett’s portfolio, has sunk 9% in 2021.

Building Wealth

See: Every Stock That Warren Buffett Owns, Ranked
Find: How Much $1,000 Would Be Worth If You Invested in These Pandemic-Winning Stocks 1 Year Ago

The Apple slowdown could represent a market correction or another trend analysts spotted in 2021: The S&P 500 appears to have flipped, with last year’s worst stocks up an average of 33% for 2021.

Most notably, travel related stocks like the aforementioned United, along with Carnival cruises (NYSE: CCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line (NYSE: NCLH), have rallied with vaccine distribution and fewer COVID cases. Carnival gained 31.4% this year, with an IBD Relative Strength of 69, and Norwegian jumped up 21%, with a Relative Strength of 80.

Certainly, there’s something to be said for Buffett’s traditional wisdom to buy or hold through the dips to come out on top as a long-term investor.

More from GOBankingRates

Share this article:

Building Wealth

About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
Learn More

Best Bank Accounts for September 2022

Untitled design (1)
Close popup The GBR Closer icon

Sending you timely financial stories that you can bank on.

Sign up for our daily newsletter for the latest financial news and trending topics.

Please enter an email.
Please enter a valid email address.
There was an unknown error. Please try again later.

For our full Privacy Policy, click here.