Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s shares become key-centric, Warren Buffett

02 March 2018, 01:41 | Shawn Tate

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reports record profit

The event is marked by the attendance of scores of Warren Buffett admirers who line hours before the investment guru's and Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett's speech

Billionaire Warren Buffett says the tax overhaul Congress passed previous year will provide a "huge tailwind" for American business.

Berkshire noted the performance in its annual report, released Saturday, along with the highly anticipated letter to shareholders from Chairman Warren Buffett.

Of course Buffett being Buffett, we're expected to not only pretend like we care what he says, but also to pretend like what he says is some semblance of profound when it nearly invariably is not. Berkshire typically pays all cash for acquisitions.

Berkshire's largest stock holdings were detailed in Buffett's annual letter, and Apple is now the company's most-valuable position based on Friday's close.

To be clear, no one I know actually wants to read Buffett's ramblings anymore.

"A large portion of our gain did not come from anything we accomplished at Berkshire", he wrote, adding that about $29 billion of that $65.3 billion gain came from changes to the tax law. Book value per share, measuring assets minus liabilities, rose 23% in 2017.

Warren Buffett is worth upwards of $86 billion, runs a $500-billion financial services company, is an avowed philanthropist and was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 USA presidential campaign.

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But he has given himself and long-time vice-chairman Charlie Munger, 94, more freedom to focus on investing and allocating capital.

Buffett said he keeps his hands off investment decisions by Combs and Berkshire's other investment deputy, Ted Weschler.

Gregory Abel, who had run Berkshire Hathaway Energy, is now overseeing Berkshire's non-insurance businesses such as the BNSF railroad and Dairy Queen ice cream, all of which employ 330,000 people, while insurance specialist Ajit Jain oversee the Geico auto insurer and other insurance businesses, employing 47,000.

OK, in 2008 "the roof fell in" writes Mr Buffett with a huge stock market crash. The stocks included, American Express, Apple Inc, Bank of America, The Bank of New York Mellon, BYD Co, Charter Communications, The Coca-Cola Co, Delta Airlines, General Motors, The Goldman Sachs Group, Moody's Corp, Phillips, Southwest Airlines, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo.

Buffett also said that while Berkshire's insurance holdings would take a US$2 billion after-tax hit from losses caused by hurricanes previous year in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico, other reinsurance companies did far worse.

"You have to be pretty careful if you're saying that you're not going to fly on this airline because of that or we're not going to use this railroad because of that", said Buffett, who says Berkshire doesn't own any gun investments to his knowledge. Indeed and from his standpoint, CEOs have taken on too much debt to finance expensive deals. Often, high-grade bonds in an investment portfolio increase its risk.

For the full year, Berkshire reported $44.9 billion net income, or $18.22 per Class B share.



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