Why billionaire Warren Buffett is buying this oil stock


Warren Buffett is right to be devouring shares of oil giant Occidental Petroleum (OXY), says one long-time oil markets strategist.

The billionaire investor’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) scooped up another 18.1 million shares of Occidental for close to $1 billion this week. The latest purchases come hot on the heels of Berkshire spending $6 billion or so in the prior two weeks to buy up Occidental shares.

Berkshire now owns nearly 14.6% of Occidental Petroleum through his roughly 140 million shares.

Energy expert and portfolio manager Rob Thummel of Tortoise Capital says there is more behind Buffett’s buying binge than a play on elevated oil prices.

“Occidental is benefiting from the higher oil prices. The other factor a lot of energy companies are doing that is changing the game for energy companies and how investors perceive them, is that Occidental has actually embraced the energy transition and participating in it,” Thummel said on Yahoo Finance Live. “You’ll hear them talk a lot of about carbon capture. When you combine the energy security that Occidental can provide, plus the energy transition that they are participating in, that has become a more compelling story for energy investors going forward.”

2. After nearly a century in Los Angeles, Occidental Petroleum announced in February that it was moving its headquarters where? A. New York B. New Orleans C. Houston D. Chicago  (Photo by Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Occidental Petroleum headquaters (Photo by Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Thummel says he doesn’t own any shares of Occidental.

Occidental’s stock price has responded as one would expect when a whale like Buffett gets involved.

Shares have skyrocketed 43% in the past month compared to the relatively unchanged S&P 500, per Yahoo Finance Plus data. During that same span, shares of oil majors ExxonMobil and Chevron are up 1% and 19%, respectively.

Occidental will hold a key investor day on March 22. To be sure, Buffett will likely be listening very closely.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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