Berkshire's meeting: Key takeaways from Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett on Sunday addressed investors after his company Berkshire Hathaway reported a $35.5 billion quarterly profit. Berkshire’s shareholder meeting always attracts throngs of people who admire Buffett and his longtime investing partner Charlie Munger.
The world’s sixth-richest person, Buffett has since 1965 run Berkshire, whose dozens of businesses include Geico car insurance, the BNSF railroad, and consumer names such as Dairy Queen and Fruit of the Loom.
Buffett in his speech criticised the handling of recent tumult in the US banking sector. He said the debt ceiling showdown could bring “turmoil” to the financial system.
The billionaire criticised how politicians, regulators, and the press have handled the recent failures of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank, saying their “very poor” messaging has unnecessarily frightened depositors.
Buffett said Berkshire is cautious about banks and sold some bank stocks in the past six months.
Buffett defended the size of Berkshire’s $151 billion Apple investment, saying consumers are less likely to shed their $1,500 iPhones than, for example, their $ 35,000-second cars.
“Apple is different than the other businesses we own,” Buffett said. “It just happens to be a better business.”
Berkshire has recently held a 5.6% stake in Apple, and Buffett said it could buy more.
Buffett named Greg Abel as heir apparent in 2021. The Oracle of Omaha reaffirmed he was “100% comfortable” with the decision and even indicated a largely business-as-usual transition, for whenever that could be.
On Occidental Petroleum, Buffett said that he would not make an offer for full control of the company, tempering speculation he was seeking to own the energy producer after spending months snapping up its shares.
On Berkshire’s investment strategy, Buffett said he is more comfortable with Berkshire Hathaway Inc deploying capital in Japan than Taiwan due to the tension between US and China.
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