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Buffett Warren

Warren Buffett donates $2.9 billion to Gates Foundation, family charities – Reuters

(Reuters) – Warren Buffett has donated roughly $2.9 billion of Berkshire Hathaway Inc stock to four family charities and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the latest but not largest contribution in his plan to give away his fortune.

FILE PHOTO: Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett walks through the exhibit hall as shareholders gather to hear from the billionaire investor at Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Morgan

In a statement on Wednesday, Berkshire said Buffett’s 15th annual donation comprised 15.97 million Class B shares of Berkshire.

It boosted his donations to the charities to more than $37.4 billion since Buffett, who turns 90 on Aug. 30, began giving his Berkshire shares away in 2006.

Four-fifths of the donations go to the Gates Foundation. The rest goes to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named for Buffett’s late first wife, and charities run by his children Howard, Susan and Peter: the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation and the NoVo Foundation.

Buffett’s largest donation was $3.61 billion in 2019, when Berkshire’s stock price was higher.

Though Buffett has donated 48% of his Berkshire shares, he still owns 15.5% of the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate and controls 31% of its voting power.

Forbes magazine said on Tuesday that Buffett was still worth $71.4 billion, ranking seventh worldwide.

Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos ranked first at $178.1 billion, while Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates was second.

Gates, a longtime Buffett friend, ended his 16-year run on Berkshire’s board this year to focus on his foundation.

Berkshire stock has significantly lagged broader markets in 2019 and 2020.

This is in part because Buffett has not found attractive major acquisitions and financing opportunities for his $440 billion conglomerate, even during the coronavirus pandemic.

Berkshire owns more than 90 businesses such as BNSF railroad, Geico auto insurance and Dairy Queen ice cream.

It also owns dozens of stocks, including more than $93 billion of Apple Inc based on regulatory filings.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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Buffett Sells

Buffett Sells More Stocks, Including Goldman Sachs, With No ‘Elephant-Sized’ Acquisition On The Horizon – Forbes

TOPLINE

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who told investors earlier this month that he had made a “mistake” betting on airlines, is continuing to sell stocks amid the coronavirus pandemic, the latest regulatory filing from Berkshire Hathaway shows.

Forbes Media Centennial Celebration

Buffett sold 84% of his stake in Goldman Sachs, a longtime holding.


2017 Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

KEY FACTS

Buffett has remained relatively quiet during the coronavirus market downturn: Rather than make any “elephant-sized” acquisitions, he’s trimmed Berkshire’s holdings—mostly banks and airlines so far—and grown its cash pile to $137 billion.

The Oracle of Omaha’s biggest recent move was to sell off most 84% of his stake in Goldman Sachs, a longtime holding which he famously invested $5 billion into during the 2008 financial crisis.

Buffett decreased his stake in Goldman, which saw its stock plunge over 30% in the first quarter, from over 12 million shares to just under two million; His remaining investment is valued at around $330 million, Berkshire’s filing shows.

Berkshire Hathaway cut its stake in another bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., by 3% in the first quarter, while also fully exiting positions in insurance giant Travelers and energy company Phillips 66.

Berkshire cut its investment in e-commerce giant Amazon by 0.7% in the first quarter—a relatively new bet first disclosed in 2019—as the retailer has warned of mounting costs as it faces challenges related to the pandemic.

Berkshire has been doing some small-scale buying during the pandemic as well, however: Buffett ended up boosting the conglomerate’s stake in PNC Financial Services Group, a bank which is among the biggest lenders in the United States, to 6%.

Key background

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway

BRK.B
reported a massive net loss of nearly $50 billion in the first quarter. The investing conglomerate sold $6.5 billion worth of stocks in the month of April, compared to buying only $426 million worth of equities during that period. “We did very little in the first quarter,” Buffett admitted at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in early May. The coronavirus market sell-off that occurred in late February and through most of March took a significant toll on the company’s businesses, he said. Berkshire’s cash pile rose from $125 billion to $137.3 billion, as the Oracle of Omaha continues to look for an elephant-size acquisition. Buffett also told investors that he had sold all of the company’s airline stocks, admitting that he had made a “mistake” and that “the world has changed for airlines.” Berkshire cut its holdings in the four largest U.S. airlines—United, American, Southwest

CSWC
and Delta Airlines

DAL
, which were cumulatively worth more than $4 billion.

What to watch for

In a remark similar to the ones he made to calm markets during the 2008 financial crisis—urging people to “Buy American,” Buffett recently said that he is optimistic that the U.S. economy can bounce back and overcome coronavirus. “I remain convinced… nothing can basically stop America,” he told Berkshire shareholders at the annual meeting. “In the end, the answer is: Never bet against America.”

Further reading

Forget Buffett’s Next Big Deal, He’s Dumping These Stocks (Forbes)

Warren Buffett Sells Airline Stocks Amid Coronavirus: ‘I Made A Mistake’ (Forbes)

The U.S. Economy Will Beat Coronavirus, Buffett Says: ‘Never Bet Against America’ (Forbes)

Berkshire Hathaway Lost $50 Billion Last Quarter As Warren Buffett’s Investments Took A Hit From Coronavirus (Forbes)

What Is Warren Buffett Up To? Berkshire Swooped In During 2008, But What’s Its Power Play For 2020? (Forbes)

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Buffett Depression

Buffett compares current day economic to the Depression: FDIC would have made Depression less severe – Yahoo Finance











Published on 05-May-2020

Yahoo Finance’s Brian Cheung reports on Warren Buffett’s statements at the Berkshire Hathaway 2020 Annual Shareholders Meetingregarding the Great Depression and the FDIC.

#WarrenBuffett #FDIC #Depression

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Buffett Coronavirus

Buffett on coronavirus, airlines and more — Watch the 5 best moments from the Berkshire meeting – CNBC

Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., speaks during the virtual Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting seen on a laptop computer in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Saturday, May 2, 2020.

Bloomberg

What a difference a year makes. Sitting on a stage in an empty arena in Omaha, Nebraska and in the absence of his usual sidekick Charlie Munger, the 89-year-old Warren Buffett commenced Berkshire Hathaway‘s 2020 annual shareholder meeting on Saturday with a firm message: “Nothing can stop America.”

The “Woodstock for Capitalists,” which has drawn tens of thousands of attendees for years, was hosted virtually for the first time ever. This year, the “Oracle of Omaha” shared the stage with Greg Abel, vice chairman of non-insurance operations at the conglomerate and a top contender as Buffett’s successor. 

The four-hour live-streamed presentation and Q&A gave an insight into Buffett’s investing mindset amid the coronavirus crisis. While he’s still a believer in the “American miracle” at heart, the pandemic did lead to some rare moves by the legendary investor. Buffett also explained why he’s been sitting on sidelines with a record $137 billion cash pile. 

Here are the five best moments from this event. For the full meeting replay, visit CNBC’s Buffett Archive.

Nothing can stop America

Minutes into his remarks, Buffett offered a reassurance to investors, many of whom got burned by the virus-triggered sell-off, that the U.S. economy will withstand this global pandemic as it has with all of the previous battles and crises.

“Nothing can basically stop America,” Buffett said. “The American miracle, the American magic has always prevailed and it will do so again … In World War II, I was convinced of this,” he added. “I was convinced of this during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 9/11, the financial crisis.”

The outbreak, that has affected more than 1 million people in the U.S., has led to nationwide economic shutdowns, which resulted in unprecedented job losses. In the first quarter, the U.S. economy suffered its biggest contraction since the financial crisis.

Berkshire reported a massive $50 billion loss in the first quarter, a record for Buffett’s conglomerate and mostly due to stock losses.

Berkshire sold all its airline stocks

“The world has changed for the airlines. And I don’t know how it’s changed and I hope it corrects itself in a reasonably prompt way,” he said. “I don’t know if Americans have now changed their habits or will change their habits because of the extended period.”

Demand for air travel has plunged since March as the virus and precautions like shelter-in-place orders keep potential passengers home. The airline stocks that Buffett dumped have dropped as much as 70% this year as of Friday. It was a rare move for the buy-and-hold investor.

Why he hasn’t made any big investments

The billionaire also addressed the “elephant-sized acquisition” he has yet to make. 

Buffett hasn’t made any big investments in several years as Berkshire’s massive cash pile ballooned to a record $137 billion by the end of March. He said the reason is simply that he hasn’t found anything “attractive.”

“We have not done anything because we haven’t seen anything that attractive,” Buffett said. “We are not doing anything big obviously. We are willing to do something very big. I mean you could come to me on Monday morning with something that involved $30, or $40 billion or $50 billion. And if we really like what we are seeing, we would do it.”

Buy an index fund

Buffett believes average investors should buy the broad market for a long period of time instead of following stock-picking advice of others.

“In my view, for most people, the best thing is to do is owning the S&P 500 index fund,” Buffett said. “There are huge amounts of money people pay for advice they really don’t need.”

“If you bet on America and sustain that position for decades, you’d do far better than buying Treasury securities, or far better than following people who tell you” what to invest, he added.

He added people should not borrow money to participate in the market ever and especially now given the uncertainty around the pandemic.

“When something like the current pandemic happens, it’s hard to factor that in. That’s why you never want to use borrowed money, at least in my view, into investments,” Buffett said.

Buffett and Munger are in good health

Vice Chairmen Charlie Munger, 96, wasn’t in attendance, though Buffett said his longtime business partner was in fine shape and will return to the annual meeting next year.

Buffett said that Munger added Zoom Video to his repertoire and is having virtual meetings every day.

Asked about future management who will allocate capital at Berkshire, Buffett listed Greg Abel, Todd Combs, Ted Weschler, his two key investing deputies.

“Charlie and I are around. We like capital allocation ourselves. We are not going any place voluntarily, but we probably will be going some places involuntarily before that long,” Buffett said.

“Charlie is in good health. I’m in good health,” he added.

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