Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) has one of the most closely followed stock portfolios in the world, and for good reason. Many of the stocks in it were hand-selected by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
While I wouldn't go so far as to say that all of these "Buffett stocks" are great buys, there are some that really stand out right now. Here are two in particular -- an investment bank that's quietly getting into the consumer side of the business, and an automaker that's more of a disruptor than the market gives it credit for -- that look extremely attractive as we head in to July.
Don't let mediocre stress test results fool you
Unlike most big U.S. banks, Goldman Sachs' shareholders will not be getting a dividend increase in 2018, nor will the bank increase its buyback. The Federal Reserve's annual "stress test" found that Goldman's capital levels would barely remain over the minimally acceptable level during a severe global recession, and as a condition of their capital plans being conditionally approved, the bank's capital return over the next 12 months will not increase.
Understandably, investors were disappointed by this, and Goldman was certainly one of the biggest disappointments of this year's stress tests.
However, it's important not to let this temporary headwind steal the spotlight. For starters, the reason for the poor stress test result in the first place is tax reform -- which will ultimately be a positive catalyst for the bank. Thanks to the deemed repatriation of foreign earnings, Goldman took a big (but one-time) tax hit, which reduced its capital levels.
In addition, Goldman has a lot of good things going for it. The IPO market is the most active it's been in years, M&A activity is strong, and thanks to market volatility, Goldman's trading revenue has been picking up. Plus, Goldman's commercial banking ambitions are starting to produce a significant and rapidly growing revenue stream that has tremendous potential.
The best way to invest in the auto industry
Despite Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) grabbing most auto industry-related headlines in the financial news lately, I'd caution investors not to overlook General Motors as a long-term investment.
First off, not only does GM trade at a down-to-earth valuation, but the stock is downright cheap right now at just over six times forward earnings.
While there are certain headwinds facing GM, such as the highly cyclical nature of the auto industry and generally weaker U.S. auto sales in 2018, there are some good reasons to believe in the company for the long haul.
First, the company is investing heavily in product development, such as the recent announcement of a major investment in a Cadillac factor intended to help revitalize the brand. The company is emphasizing its highest-margin products, which include trucks, SUVs, and luxury sedans.
GM is also investing more than rivals in advances such as autonomous vehicle technology, electric vehicles, and ridesharing projects. In fact, SoftBank recently valued GM Cruise Holdings, the company's self-driving unit, at $11.5 billion. To put it mildly, GM Cruise has the potential to be a real game changer for the company from a long-term perspective and could start having a serious impact sooner than you might think.
The bottom line: Don't write off General Motors as an "old-school" car company that's in the process of getting disrupted. The company is putting its resources to work in all of the right ways and is not only keeping up with the newer players like Tesla, it's well on its way to becoming a disruptor itself. And unlike Tesla, General Motors is already highly profitable and pays shareholders a handsome dividend.
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Matthew Frankel owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.