High Hopes for Buffett’s Annual Letter

A Bloomberg article published prior to the release of this year’s letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders notes that Warren Buffett “has provided himself with plenty of fodder—if only he’ll use it to answer two nagging questions for investors:” Does the company’s recently “relatively new, and recently erratic, interest in technology investments” signal anything to its investors? “If Buffett didn’t find a “significant acquisition in December’s market swoon, then when will he?” The article notes that… Read More

Takeaways from Berkshire’s Annual Letter to Shareholders

Here are some highlights of Warren Buffett’s widely-anticipated annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders: Format Change While for thirty years the billionaire investing legend has opened with a paragraph concerning the change in the firm’s per-share book value, this year he wrote, “It’s now time to abandon that practice,” citing three reasons for the change: Berkshire has “gradually morphed from a company whose assets are concentrated in marketable stocks into one whose major value resides… Read More

Learning from Buffett’s Performance

In my last article, I looked at the stocks owned by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway and asked the question, “How Active is Buffett’s Portfolio?”. As we found out, the answer is very active in terms of how different the equity portfolio looks vs. the broader market index. The combination of Buffett’s portfolio and investing acumen has translated into one of the best investment track records in history. There are some interesting observations we can… Read More

Jain’s Stock Buy a Bullish Sign for Berkshire Shares

A recent Barron’s article characterized last month’s “outsized” purchase of $19.9 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway common A shares by the company’s vice chairman Ajit Jain as a bullish sign for the stock. It says that the “veteran insurance mastermind” Jain seemed to be taking advantage of a 12% decline in Berkshire class A shares from their October high of around $336,000, when he paid an average of $296,515 for 67 shares, the article notes.… Read More

Berkshire Insurers Weather Storms and See Big Gains

A Bloomberg article reports that Berkshire Hathaway’s operating profit doubled last quarter, due in part to increased train traffic and an uptick in demand for electronic components. “The biggest boost,” it adds, “came from the insurance division, where catastrophe costs fell almost 90 percent from last year ‘s disastrous third quarter, the sharpest decline among all major publicly-traded U.S. insurers.” Operating income rose to $6.88 billion from $3.44 billion in the third quarter of 2017.… Read More

Berkshire Hathaway Breaks Tradition with Fintech Investments

Todd Combs, one of Berkshire’s two top money managers, led the conglomerate’s recent $600 million investment in two fintech companies focused on emerging markets—Paytm and StoneCo. This according to an article in CNBC.com. This is a departure from Berkshire’s typical strategy of buying stakes in blue chip American companies, the article notes, citing IBM, Coca-Cola and Wells Fargo as Buffett’s typical picks. However, “while Berkshire has stayed away from early-stage tech plays,” the article says,… Read More

Buffett Repurchases Over $900 Million in Berkshire Stock

An article in The Wall Street Journal reports that Berkshire Hathaway repurchased $928 million in stock in the third quarter of 2018, calling it a rare move that indicated Chairman Warren Buffett sees a dearth of appealing investment options for his company’s large cash balances. This is the first repurchase since 2012, the article says, reflecting the “the scarcity of attractively priced projects and deals that can satiate yield-hungry investors and firms more than nine… Read More

How Did Berkshire Hathaway Look in 1975?

A recent Morningstar article offers an overview of Berkshire Hathaway stock performance since 1975 and whether it would have been attractive to an investor in the early days based on five- and ten-year historical returns. Regarding the second five-year period, the article asserts, “Boy, did things change,” adding, “In real terms, that whippersnapper Warren Buffett turned $10,000 of January 1971 money into just under $7200. The Oracle of Omaha indeed! More like the Numbskull of… Read More

Berkshire Rallies on Share Buyback Announcement

Last month, Berkshire Hathaway’s board announced that its removing a cap on stock buybacks, giving chairman Warren Buffett the freedom to dole out profits rather than continue his hunt for acquisitions. This according to an article in Bloomberg. The article reported that Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger can “now make repurchases whenever they both believe the price is below Berkshire’s intrinsic value, conservatively determined.’ ” The announcement led to a 3.9% rise in shares,… Read More

The Future of Berkshire Without Buffett

Barron’s recently invited readers to submit letters they might write to Warren Buffett. One, which they published in June (by writer Andrew Bary), suggested that Berkshire shareholders might derive some comfort from knowing a bit more about Berkshire’s succession plan. “After 53 years at the helm,” wrote Bary, “isn’t it time to share the limelight with your likely successor and with Berkshire’s many managers? Investors would get to know them better and gain confidence that… Read More