Thousands of people fill arena to hear from Warren Buffett

14 May, 2017, 01:58 | Author: Glen Fletcher

The billionaire investor was speaking at Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholders' meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, which is attended every year by tens of thousands of investors and is referred to as the "Woodstock of capitalism".

Warren Buffett on Saturday faulted Wells Fargo & Co's (WFC.N) previous management for failing to take action immediately upon learning that its employees were signing up customers for accounts they did not want.

Buffett is a Democrat who vocally supported Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful bid for the presidency against Trump.

"If I die tonight, I think the stock would go up tomorrow", he said in response to one shareholder's question. While most developed countries publicly finance their healthcare spending, US -based employers provide health insurance coverage for nearly half of the population, often at high rates.

"Medical costs are the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness", Buffett said. "The moment the C.E.O. heard about it, he had to act". From investment - passive investing was praised, to tax and the Trump healthcare package which was criticised, to the company's holdings in Wells Fargo, IBM and political donations - the hours of comment and questions covered an very bad lot. Buffett says United Airlines bungled the case of the passenger dragged off a plane in April 2017, and he is criticizing the CEOs handling of the incident.

In contrast, the billionaire offered little defense of one major holding of Berkshire: IBM.

Berkshire now owns 133 million Apple Inc shares, but it just sold off one-third of its 81 million IBM Corp shares, saying that Buffett had misjudged that firm. "And that's true of 8-year-olds and 80-year-olds", Buffett said of the company's iPhone product.

The world's most famous investor, the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett expressed regrets about not being able to gauge two tech companies, where he doesn't own a stock but they are doing extremely well.

"If you tell me a wonderful company in India that might be available for sale, I'll be there tomorrow", he said. In the past year alone, almost all of Buffett's stocks are up, particularly Apple (aapl), which now happens to be the world's top-paying dividend stock in terms of dollars paid out.

The executives who run Berkshire subsidiaries look forward to the meeting just as the shareholders do.

Buffett is right that, for most of his stock-picking history, shareholders have likely been better off leaving their money in his care rather than siphoning the cash into their own accounts by way of dividends: Since 1965, Berkshire Hathaway stock has delivered annualized returns of almost 21%, more than double the S&P 500.



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