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Building a Buffett-Like Portfolio

Q: Do you have any information on what Buffett has actually been buying? Any likeness to your screen?

A: Now would be a good time to mention that the screen is only an indication of a list of stocks that meet the criteria mentioned in The Warren Buffett Way. It should not be used as an indication of stocks Mr. Buffett has bought in the past or will buy in the future. In fact, it's well known that Mr. Buffett has an aversion to large-scale investments in technology. So I wouldn't hold my breath that he's about to go out and buy Oracle.

However, the screen serves a purpose in that investors can understand that some technology stocks actually do meet some of the criteria that Mr. Buffett has emphasized in the past.

To more specifically answer the question, Mr. Buffett has moved away from individual stock market investing and has in recent years been purchasing entire companies. These include Shaw Industries, Fruit of the Loom, and Johns Manville. This year, he has made bids for Clayton Homes (CMH ) and Burlington Industries (BRLG ).

Q: Could it be that Buffett is looking for distressed companies now?

A: He is definitely looking in this marketplace for things that have shown some amount of distress. That was true when he purchased Fruit of the Loom out of bankruptcy and purchased Johns Manville from the asbestos-victims trust, and certainly the purchase of Burlington Industries represents looking at a distressed property.

This has gone on for a while. Berkshire Hathaway even made a bid several years ago

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