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Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren And Bernie Sanders Want Big Banking Reforms Following The FinCEN Files Investigations – BuzzFeed News

Warren called for the creation of a new unit in the US Treasury Department, separate from FinCEN, “to investigate these types of financial crimes.”

Posted on September 21, 2020, at 6:28 p.m. ET

Lawmakers, regulators, and activists across the globe Monday called for swift action into the findings of a new investigation from BuzzFeed News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists about corruption in the global banking system and how governments facilitate it.

In the FinCEN Files, a series of stories that began publishing Sunday, BuzzFeed News and its partners revealed how the giants of Western banking move trillions of dollars in suspicious transactions, enriching themselves and their shareholders while facilitating the actions of terrorists, kleptocrats, and drug kingpins.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren called on Monday for reforming the government practice of offering banks deferred prosecution agreements instead of real punishments when they are caught abetting money laundering, one of the problems highlighted in the series.

“We must root out this corruption by strengthening transparency of financial networks and clamp down on the dark money that flows through the global financial system,” she said.

The Massachusetts Democrat called for the creation of a new unit in the US Treasury Department, separate from FinCEN, “to investigate these types of financial crimes.”

She also called for the passage of her so-called Ending Too Big to Jail Act, legislation she introduced in 2018 that she said would hold Wall Street executives criminally accountable when the banks they lead break the law. This, she said, would stop the practice of allowing “bankers to walk away with drop in the bucket settlements and slaps on the wrist.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders also described the series as revealing “the routine business practices on Wall Street.”

“The business model of Wall Street is fraud. It is not the exception to the rule—it is the rule,” he said on Twitter. “Break them up.”

Money laundering. Bribery. Mortgage fraud. Collusion. Currency manipulation. Rate tampering.

These are just some of the routine business practices on Wall Street.

The business model of Wall Street is fraud. It is not the exception to the rule—it is the rule. Break them up. https://t.co/vyyLE9AMyH

Money laundering. Bribery. Mortgage fraud. Collusion. Currency manipulation. Rate tampering.

These are just some of the routine business practices on Wall Street.

The business model of Wall Street is fraud. It is not the exception to the rule—it is the rule. Break them up. https://t.co/vyyLE9AMyH

The banking lobby, however, took issue with the investigation’s findings.

“It does not make sense that the basis for media allegations that banks knowingly hid illegal activity consisted solely of Suspicious Activity Reports that those banks filed alerting law enforcement to that very activity,” said Bank Policy Institute President Greg Baer. “Clearly, there is more to this story, but unfortunately the reporting failed to unearth it, and the banks are legally prohibited from telling their side.”

The FinCEN Files series is based in part on a huge trove of government documents, called “suspicious activity reports,” which are compiled by banks and sent to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The agency is charged with combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes, but BuzzFeed News found that criminals use banks to finance terror and death, and the government doesn’t stop it.

The series of stories on the FinCEN Files — which is the product of a collaboration between BuzzFeed News, ICIJ, and more than 100 partner news organizations — continue to reverberate across the world.

By Monday evening, the stock prices of several banks highlighted in the series, including Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, and JPMorgan Chase, had fallen. HSBC stock fell to its lowest level in 25 years. A story published Monday about that bank also revealed how it continued to facilitate and profit from transactions it suspected were dirty, including money the Treasury Department later declared was connected to narco kingpins. HSBC officials have contended that the bank met its obligations under the law.

Regulators around the world have joined Warren and Sanders in calling for investigations and stricter reforms.

In the United Kingdom, Pat McFadden, the Labor shadow economic secretary to the Treasury, said that “London’s reputation and strength as a global financial center is weakened and undermined if it is thought to be a place where illicit funds can be laundered. It is absolutely vital that the government and regulators fully investigate what has emerged.”

In Brussels, Sven Giegold, the economic and financial policy spokesperson for the Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament, called the series a “wake-up call.”

“It is scandalous that large international banks continue to allow money laundering on a large scale even after the global financial crisis,” he said. “It is state failure on a grand scale that public authorities have for years shown themselves incapable of putting an end to this growing financial crime.”

Giegold said he wanted a hearing on the findings in the series in the European Parliament’s new tax subcommittee.

The superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services also demanded reforms. “We must act,” Linda Lacewell said on Twitter. “Trillions of dollars in dirty money gushes through the financial system in a toxic stew of criminal proceeds. Banks must put integrity at the center of what they do and empower compliance personnel to act.”

Other news organizations that BuzzFeed News shared the documents with published their own investigations, including one that found efforts by North Korea to infiltrate the global financial system and sidestep sanctions; another story looked at how the Treasury Department abandoned a major money laundering case into the illicit gold trade.

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Buffett's Warren

Why Warren Buffett’s $570 million bet on Snowflake is rarer than any unicorn | Markets – Business Insider

  • Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway plans to invest about $570 million into Snowflake when the cloud-data platform goes public.
  • Berkshire is set to buy about 7 million to 7.4 million shares, giving it a roughly 2.5% stake.
  • The bet is striking because Buffett famously sticks to businesses he understands, and has blasted IPOs as being poor value for money.
  • “We like to buy things where nobody’s making a dime selling them to us,” Buffett said in an interview last year.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is set to invest roughly $570 million into Snowflake when the cloud-data platform goes public at a potential $24 billion valuation in the coming weeks.

The famed investor’s company participating in an initial public offering by a “unicorn” — a private startup valued at over $1 billion — might just be a rarer sight than a horned horse.Advertisement


Catching snowflakes

Berkshire has signed up to buy $250 million worth of Snowflake’s stock in a private placement. It has also agreed to purchase 4 million shares from former Snowflake CEO Robert Muglia at the IPO price.

Snowflake expects to price its shares between $75 and $85. As a result, Berkshire is set to shell out between $550 million and $590 million for roughly 7 million to 7.4 million shares.

Berkshire’s shares are likely to give it a 2.5% to 2.6% stake in the

software

group, which is targeting a valuation of $20.9 billion to $23.7 billion — more than 78 times its revenue last fiscal year.

Advertisement


Read more: US Investing Championship contender Oliver Kell raked in a 359.4% return through July. Here’s the strategy he’s using to crush the competition — and 3 stocks he’s holding right now.

Avoiding technology

Berkshire’s bet on Snowflake is surprising because Buffett has avoided technology stocks for most of his career. The investor has historically preferred to stay within his “circle of competence” and invest in companies he understands.
One of Buffett’s deputies, Todd Combs, is likely behind the Snowflake investment as his signature is in the IPO filing. However, it’s still a jarring departure for Berkshire to back a

tech

company that lost close to $350 million last fiscal year.Advertisement


Berkshire’s stable of businesses is dominated by steady, reliable businesses such as utilities, manufacturers, retailers, and insurers. Similarly, the biggest holdings in its stock portfolio are relatively staid companies such as American Express, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, and Kraft Heinz.

The glaring exception is Apple, the most valuable holding in Berkshire’s portfolio. However, Berkshire only invested a few years ago, and Buffett views the iPhone maker more as a consumer-products company than a tech firm.

‘They don’t even call us’

Buffett and his business partner, Charlie Munger, have avoided IPOs and warned investors against participating in them for a long time.Advertisement


“In 54 years I don’t think Berkshire’s ever bought a new issue,” Buffett said in a CNBC interview last year. The sole exception is StoneCo, a Brazilian digital-payments group that Berkshire backed when it went public in 2018.

Buffett highlighted the hype around IPOs, and the strong incentives to drive up their price, as compelling reasons to stay away.

“How can it be the best single thing to use your money for in a given day [when] everybody in the world is pushing it?” Buffett asked. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”Advertisement


Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 19 stocks right now for big future gains once a COVID-19 vaccine is available

“We like to buy things where nobody’s making a dime selling them to us,” he added.

Buffett also pointed out at Berkshire’s 2004 annual meeting that the timing of IPOs tends to favor the company, not its new investors.Advertisement


“The seller decides when to come to market in most cases,” he said. “They don’t pick a time necessarily that’s good for you.”

Buffett said in another interview last year that valuation was a major concern for him.
“I certainly wouldn’t buy a business for $25 billion,” Buffett said, adding that it would have to earn $2.5 billion to $3 billion in pre-tax income in five years “to even be on the same radar screen as things you can buy now.”Advertisement


The investor also dismissed the idea that avoiding IPOs means missing out on future stars such as Amazon and Google, as he argued most of them turn out to be duds.

“You can go around making dumb bets and win,” he said. “It’s not something you want to take as a lifetime policy, though.”

Berkshire’s reputation for eschewing IPOs has led to companies not even bothering to contact Berkshire before going public.Advertisement


“They don’t even call us,” Munger said in the CNBC interview.

Read more: ‘I had run $5,000 up to $140,000 in just 2 years’: Here are the 7 trading rules stock-market wizard Marty Schwartz leverages to help ensure success

A shift in stance

Given Buffett’s historical aversion to tech companies and IPOs, it’s deeply surprising that his company is buying into an loss-making software business at a sky-high valuation.Advertisement


The best explanation may be that Buffett trusts Combs’ judgement, especially as $570 million isn’t too large a bet for a company with a roughly $200 billion stock portfolio and close to $150 billion in cash at the last count.

The Snowflake investment is also the latest sign that Berkshire is revamping its strategy and seeking out new types of investments.

For example, it bought shares in a gold miner for the first time last quarter, disclosed 5% stakes in Japan’s five biggest trading companies just over a week ago, and slashed its Wells Fargo stake to a 17-year low last week.Advertisement


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Buffett's Warren

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway makes big bets on Japan – CNN

Hong Kong (CNN Business)Warren Buffett is ushering in his nineties with big bets on Japan.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA), the American billionaire’s industrial and insurance conglomerate, on Sunday announced that it has purchased stakes in Japan’s five leading trading companies. The stakes are worth roughly 5% each, and have a combined value of $6.7 billion based on the companies’ share prices Monday.
The five firms — Itochu (ITOCF), Marubeni (MARUY), Mitsubishi (MBFJF), Mitsui (MITSY) and Sumitomo (CMTDF) — are known as “sogo shosha,” or “general trading companies,” in Japan. They play a vital role in the country’s economy, dealing in a wide range of industries, including energy, technology and manufacturing.
“I am delighted to have Berkshire Hathaway participate in the future of Japan and the five companies we have chosen for investment,” Buffett said in a statement, noting that the firms have worldwide business partnerships. “I hope that in the future there may be opportunities of mutual benefit.”
Berkshire said that it bought the holdings over the last year through regular purchases on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Japanese companies have not always welcomed foreign direct investment and some, such as New York hedge fund Third Point’s stake in Sony, have turned contentious. But Buffett is a household name in Japan and books about his legendary investment style have been mainstays in Japanese bookstores for years.
The companies’ stocks surged on the news, popping between 4% and 10% in Japan. The benchmark Nikkei 225 (N225) surged more than 1% as of Monday afternoon.
Berkshire said it intends to hold onto the investments for the long haul, adding that it may increase the size of its holdings to as much as 9.9%.
The stakes are among Berkshire’s most notable inroads in Asia. It also has a major stake in BYD (BYDDF), the largest electric vehicle maker in China.
It’s also a sign of how Berkshire may be trying to hedge against a weak US dollar, according to Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist for AxiCorp, a Sydney-based financial services firm.
Innes pointed out that Berkshire earlier this month revealed that it had bought a stake in Barrick (GOLD), a Canadian gold mining firm that is one of the world’s most valuable. Gold prices have benefited from the US dollar’s weakness this year, rising to all-time highs.
As the world continues to work toward recovery from Covid-19, Innes said, the Japanese trading houses that Berkshire is now investing in “will be a hot commodity,” as they deal in the trading of resources.
“They will be the conduits to stoke Japan’s economic engines,” he added.
— Kaori Enjoji contributed to this report.

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Calls Warren

Warren calls for Postal Service board members to fire DeJoy or resign | TheHill – The Hill

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls for Postal Service board members to fire DeJoy or resign Bloomberg convention speech goes viral after fly lands on face On the Trail: Joe Biden, party man MORE (D-Mass.) said board members for the U.S. Postal Service should fire Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyTensions flare as senators grill postmaster general The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Postmaster General attempts to calm mail-in voting fears Postmaster General testifies that ballots will be prioritized for delivery MORE or resign themselves amid controversy over planned changes he’s announced.

“The @USPS Board of Governors has a responsibility to serve the public interest. That means delivering the mail on time – not acting as accomplices for the Postmaster General’s partisan sabotage. If the Board won’t fire Louis DeJoy and reverse the damage, they should resign too,” Warren tweeted Friday. 

The @USPS Board of Governors has a responsibility to serve the public interest. That means delivering the mail on time – not acting as accomplices for the Postmaster General’s partisan sabotage. If the Board won’t fire Louis DeJoy and reverse the damage, they should resign too. https://t.co/7lA3mlyRw3

— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) August 21, 2020

The tweet came after a contentious hearing held by the GOP-led Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in which DeJoy, a major GOP donor and ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpCEO of National Enquirer parent company steps down Biden says he would shut US down amid pandemic if scientists said it was needed Warren calls for Postal Service board members to fire DeJoy or resign MORE, defended his proposed operational changes to the Postal Service amid claims from Democrats that they would impact the November election and prescription deliveries among other things. 

DeJoy emphasized that he is postponing some of the changes until after Nov. 3 to avoid the appearance of impacting an election that is anticipated to rely heavily on mail-in ballots. However, the official decried the “false and unfair” narrative that he was trying to suppress the vote. 

“Managing the Postal Service in an efficient and effective manner cannot succeed if everything is politicized,” DeJoy said, adding that he has never discussed the Postal Service with President Trump.

“I recognize that it has become impossible to separate the necessary long-term reform efforts we will need to undertake from the broader political environment surrounding the election, and I do not want to pursue any immediate efforts that might be utilized to tarnish the Postal Service brand, particularly as it relates to our role in the democratic process,” he said. 

DeJoy added that ensuring mail-in ballots are delivered on time for the election this year is his “No. 1 priority.”

Democrats in Washington have indicated that despite DeJoy’s assurances and his decision to delay the changes, they have every intention of performing oversight over the agency.

Democrats have long voiced worries that DeJoy’s proposed changes, which include a staff shakeup, removing ballot drop-off sites, curtailing overtime for Postal Service workers and adjusting delivery policies, would impact timely delivery, but Republicans fired back Friday that their colleagues’ concerns were baseless. 

“From what I’ve heard so far today, apparently the post office never had any issues, there were never any delays … until 65 days ago when you arrived, and then apparently all chaos has broken out,” Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordWarren calls for Postal Service board members to fire DeJoy or resign Tensions flare as senators grill postmaster general Hillicon Valley: ‘Fortnite’ owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations MORE (R-Okla.) said.

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County Warren

Warren County Sheriff told: Rachael Ray’s house on fire – KRQE News 13

Now Trending on KRQE.com

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Buffett's Warren

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway grew profits by 86% last quarter as its stock portfolio soared in value – Business Insider

Warren BuffettMario Anzuoni/Reuters

  • Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway suffered an 11% drop in revenue in the second quarter, but almost $30 billion in year-on-year investment gains meant its net income surged 86% to $26.3 billion.
  • The famed investor’s conglomerate reported about $13 billion in net stock sales last quarter, including its disposal of the “big four” airline stocks in April.
  • Berkshire also repurchased more than $5 billion of its stock as expected.
  • However, its cash pile still ballooned by about $10 billion to $147 billion.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reported a surge in profits in the second quarter as the soaring value of its stock portfolio offset weakness across much of its business due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The famed investor’s conglomerate also sold more than just the “big four” airline stocks last quarter, and added about $10 billion to its enormous cash pile.

Berkshire reported an 11% slump in revenues to about $57 billion as sales dropped in both the “insurance and other” and “railroad, utilities and energy” divisions. It also stomached an impairment charge of roughly $10 billion tied its acquisition of Precision Castparts in 2016.

Read more: ‘The most extreme valuations in history’: A notorious market bear says investors should brace for record-low negative returns over the next 12 years — and warns that today’s exuberance implies a 66% plunge

“The government and private sector responses to contain its spread began to significantly affect our operating businesses in March and adversely affected nearly all of our operations in the second quarter,” Buffett and his team wrote in the earnings release.

However, those declines were offset by close to $30 billion in year-on-year investment gains, meaning Berkshire’s net income soared 86% to $26.3 billion.

Selling stocks and buying Berkshire

Berkshire reported $12.8 billion in net stock sales last quarter, including the $6.1 billion it received from selling the “big four” airline stocks in April.

The conglomerate will publish its portfolio as of June 30 in a regulatory filing next week, detailing exactly which positions it sold down or exited.

As predicted, Buffett also repurchased more than $5 billion of Berkshire stock last quarter, a big step up from his $1.6 billion in buybacks during the first quarter.

However, his company’s cash pile still grew by about $10 billion to $147 billion, after ballooning by around $9 billion in the first quarter.

Read more: BANK OF AMERICA: Buy these 5 commodities now for profits into next year as pandemic uncertainty boosts their prices and lifts gold to $3,000

Buffett was widely expected to put Berkshire’s cash to work during the coronavirus crash earlier this year. However, the 89-year-old investor highlighted a lack of attractive opportunities at Berkshire’s annual meeting in May, as the Federal Reserve and US Treasury moved quickly to pump liquidity into markets and bail out struggling companies.

His inactivity spurred commentators to dismiss him as too old, too scared, and in need of a new strategy.

However, Buffett has been more lively in recent weeks. For example, Berkshire struck a $10 billion deal to buy most of Dominion Energy’s natural-gas assets in early July.

Moreover, he spent more than $2 billion buying Bank of America stock over 12 consecutive trading days to August 4, boosting Berkshire’s stake in the bank to almost 12%.

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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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Reasons Warren

3 Reasons Why Warren Buffett Is Fearful in Today’s Market – The Motley Fool

The Berkshire Hathaway chief surprised observers by bailing out of some stocks during the biggest crash in over a decade.

Jeremy Bowman

When the coronavirus crisis first started, market watchers were eager to see if Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) would make a big move. The Berkshire chief has lamented for years that stocks and companies are too expensive, and he hasn’t “bagged an elephant” since his 2015 acquisition of Precision Castparts. The end of an 11-year bull market seemed to present a perfect opportunity from him to make use of the $137 billion Berkshire’s squirreled away.

After Berkshire’s shareholder meeting earlier this month and the company’s 13-F filing revealing its first-quarter stock moves, we now know that Buffett has not made any big purchases. In fact, he’s done the opposite. Buffett’s been a net seller of stocks, ditching his stake in the four major airlines and cutting back on holdings of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, even though he’s historically been a fan of bank stocks.  

The man who famously said “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when they are fearful” now seems fearful. Based on his recent comments, we have some sense why.

Warren Buffett at a Berkshire Hathaway meeting

Image source: Motley Fool.

There’s a ton of uncertainty out there

Buffett has consistently expressed long-term optimism through the crisis, but he has been more cautious about what the near term holds. In comments at Berkshire’s shareholder meeting in early May, Buffett said:

When we started on this journey, which we didn’t ask for, it seemed to me that it was an extraordinary wide variety of possibilities on both the health side and on the economic side. There was DEFCON 5 on one side and DEFCON 1 on the other side, and nobody really knows, of course, all the possibilities that there are, and they don’t know what probability they are. But in this particular situation, it did seem to me that there was an extraordinary range of things that could happen on the health side and an extraordinary range in terms of the economy.

Buffett went on to acknowledge that the worst-case and best-case scenarios had been eliminated, but there’s still a wide range of possibilities out there — which makes it particularly difficult for a value investor like Buffett to make smart buys, as there’s a wide range of possibilities in future cash flows and earnings. Despite his faith in airlines, for example, Buffett believes that the industry has fundamentally changed. Demand will be down for the foreseeable future, which is especially problematic for an industry with high fixed costs.

Buffett’s right about the uncertainty. Even with the recent announcement from Moderna about a successful phase 1 vaccine trial, we don’t know if there will be an effective vaccine within the next year or two, or even ever. We don’t know if there will be another wave of infections and if businesses will have to close again. The future is especially hard to predict right now.

Prices are still too high

It’s not surprising that Buffett, who has complained about the market being overvalued for the last several years, would still believe that stocks are overpriced. Though prices are still down double-digit percentages from February’s highs, the near-term earnings picture has significantly deteriorated, and the uncertainty clouds the ability to make an accurate forecast.

Asked why Berkshire had not acted as a lender of support as it did several times during the financial crisis, taking favorable stakes in the form of preferred stock and warrants, Buffett said, “Well, we haven’t seen anything attractive.” Buffett added that the Federal Reserve stepped in to support businesses that may have otherwise come to Berkshire for help, saying, “But that means that a lot of companies that needed money and probably should have done their financing a little earlier, but they’re perfectly decent companies, got the chance to finance in huge ways in the last five weeks or thereabouts.”

Buffett said he was getting calls from companies in distress, but didn’t find any of them appealing, so Berkshire has held its purse strings.

Sometimes it pays to wait

Buffett is no fan of market timing, saying that he doesn’t know anyone who can do it, but he did observe that in the last crisis he may have acted too soon. Referring to the purchases Berkshire made in the fall of 2008, Buffett said “Now it turned out that we would have been a lot better off if we’d waited four or five months to do similar things.”

The Berkshire chief also made some of his best deals toward the end of the crisis. For instance, in 2011 he bought $5 billion in preferred stock in Bank of America, yielding 6%, a deal that has netted the company more than $20 billion, including some investments in B of A later on. 

Buffett may sense that better opportunities will present themselves as the crisis plays out. It’s only been about two months since the shutdowns started, so for struggling businesses liquidity is likely to be tighter a few months from now that than it is today.

Cautiously optimistic

Buffett retained his usual optimism about the American economy, saying, “We haven’t faced this exact problem. In fact, we haven’t really faced anything that quite resembles this problem, but we faced tougher problems. The American miracle, the American magic has always prevailed, and it will do so again.”

Indeed, over the long term, U.S. stocks and the economy have always bounced back and continued to grow — and over a five or 10-year horizon, the coronavirus may prove to be just a dip. But Buffett’s cautious tone was noticeable, and it’s clear that there’s a high level of uncertainty ahead. 

Whether Buffett will go elephant-hunting this year remains to be seen, but for now the Oracle of Omaha seems content to keep his powder dry.


Jeremy Bowman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short Janua

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Buffett's Warren

Is This Warren Buffett’s Favorite Stock Right Now? – Motley Fool

The famed investor’s Berkshire Hathaway has spent billions buying this stock over the last two quarters — more than it has spent buying shares of any other company.

Warren Buffett, CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B)(NYSE:BRK.A), is one the greatest investors of all time. His ability to pick stocks and identify undervalued subsidiaries for Berkshire to acquire has helped the company’s stock price grow at an average rate of about a 20% annualized since 1965 — approximately doubling the S&P 500‘s annualized return over the same timeframe. No wonder investors watch closely when the famed investor makes a move.

While we won’t have the full details on Buffett’s recent purchases until the company releases its 13-F filing this week, one thing is clear: Berkshire Hathaway itself is among Buffett’s favorite stocks to buy lately — and it may even be his top pick.

Warren Buffett at a Berkshire annual shareholder meeting

Warren Buffett. Image source: The Motley Fool.

Spending billions on Berkshire stock

While Berkshire hasn’t revealed all of its stock purchases in Q1 yet, the company did provide an update on its share repurchases in its recently filed quarterly report.  The conglomerate bought back around $1.58 billion worth of its own stock during the quarter. This is a sizable purchase relative to the company’s total purchases during the period. In total, Buffett spent about $4 billion buying stocks in Q1. This means Berkshire represented about 40% of all equities purchases during the period.

Driving home just how much more attractive Berkshire is finding its own stock to buy than other stocks, Berkshire was by far the company’s largest stock purchase in Q4 as well. During the period, Berkshire spent $2.2 billion buying back its own stock — greater than all of its other stock purchases combined during the quarter. Further, this put total repurchases in 2019 at about $5 billion — up from just over $1 billion in 2018.

To be clear, it’s possible that Berkshire spent more than $1.58 billion on a different stock besides Berkshire during Q1. But it’s unlikely given that Berkshire only spent $4 billion total buying securities. However, when you consider this purchase with the $2.2 billion Berkshire spent on repurchases in Q1, Berkshire does seem to be Warren Buffett’s favorite stock as of late.

Berkshire shares appear to be undervalued

What’s notable about Berkshire’s share repurchases is that they actually mean something. Unlike many companies that buy back shares no matter where the stock is trading, it’s Buffett’s policy to only buy back shares when he believes they are meaningfully undervalued. The fact that Berkshire has been a top stock purchase recently speaks volumes about Buffett’s view of Berkshire stock.

To this end, the price-to-book value of Berkshire stock is significantly lower than it has been in years. In fact, the last time Berkshire had a price to book value ratio below 1.2 was the beginning of 2013. Today, Berkshire has a price-to-book ratio of about 1.1.

While this ratio offers only one view of Berkshire’s stock, the main remains: Buffett clearly sees meaningful value in his own company’s stock. In fact, his purchase history over the last two quarters implies it may be the famed investor’s favorite stock.


Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2021 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), and short June 2020 $205 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Trump Warren

Trump says Warren ‘responsible’ for Biden’s candidacy, should make her VP pick – New York Post

May 4, 2020 | 9:46pm | Updated May 5, 2020 | 4:47am

WASHINGTON — President Trump has announced his unlikely pick for Joe Biden’s veep: Elizabeth Warren.

In an interview with The Post in the Oval Office on Monday, Trump said he believed the presumptive Democratic nominee “owes” the Massachusetts senator the top spot on his ticket because he never would have gotten this far without her help.

“I think Elizabeth Warren is responsible for Joe Biden’s win because she didn’t drop out and [Vermont Sen.] Bernie [Sanders] would have won every single state on Super Tuesday,” Trump said, claiming Warren split the progressive vote.

“I think he should pick Elizabeth Warren because Elizabeth Warren, more than any other person, including [South Carolina Rep.] Jim Clyburn and including anybody you can name, is responsible for the win of Joe Biden,” he continued, referring to Clyburn’s campaign-reviving February endorsement of Biden.

Trump also questioned whether the former vice president, 77, would actually wind up his party’s nominee.

“If he’s gonna win — and I don’t know that he makes it to the starting gate — but if he does make it to the starting gate, [Warren is] responsible,” he said.

Joe BIden and Elizabeth Warren.
Joe BIden and Elizabeth Warren.Reuters

“She was responsible for his win so therefore I think he owes an obligation to pick Pocahontas,” he said, using his favorite taunt for Warren due to her past tenuous claims of Native American ancestry.

A number of female Democratic lawmakers are furiously lobbying to become Biden’s running mate after he pledged to select a woman for vice president.

No one is campaigning more blatantly than Stacey Abrams but Trump dismissed her efforts, saying that he was largely responsible for her defeat in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election.

“If you look at Stacey Abrams, I was the one that went to Georgia and fought Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama,” he said, referring to Abrams’ star endorsements.

“[Gov. Brian] Kemp wasn’t given a chance. Kemp wasn’t given a chance to win and he won,” the president continued.

“They were there all the time campaigning for Stacey Abrams, their new great star. That didn’t work out too well,” he said,

Biden insiders have also dismissed Abrams’ campaigning for the coveted role — telling The Post: “No one takes Stacey seriously.”

“And her public campaigning for the job seems more like a hostage negotiation than an actual attempt to get the job,” the insider said.

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