Buffett said it can be tough to pick the long-term winners. He pointed out that in 1903 there were more than 2,000 car companies, and nearly all of them failed even though cars have transformed the country since then.
“There’s a lot more to picking stocks than figuring out what will be an incredible industry in the future,” Buffett said. “I just want to tell you that it’s not as easy as it sounds.”
Buffett has said that most people will fare better by owning an S&P 500 index fund instead of betting on individual stocks. He said many of the novice investors who jumped into the market recently and drove up the value of video game retailer
Buffett said the stock trading platforms that allow people to buy and sell stocks for free, such as Robinhood, are only encouraging that gambling.
Buffett spent several hours answering questions Saturday afternoon at an online version of Berkshire’s annual meeting alongside vice chairmen
Buffett said the policies of the
“This economy right now — 85% of it is running in a super high gear — and you’re seeing some inflation and all that. It has responded in an incredible way. We learned something out of 2008 and 2009 and then we applied it. But I don’t think it was a sure thing that it would happen,” Buffett said.
Buffett said he doesn’t regret selling off Berkshire’s
“We do not question whether Buffett and Munger have patience. That’s obvious. The question is do they have any aggression. That’s not obvious,” Smead said.
Buffett said he wants to invest more of Berkshire's cash, but the current competition he faces from private equity and other investment funds has made it difficult for Berkshire to find reasonably priced acquisitions.
This was the second year in a row that the annual meeting was held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s event was moved outside of
The meeting usually draws 40,000 to
The fun of the meeting isn’t just for shareholders.
“We certainly miss that opportunity to connect with our peers,” said Weber, adding that he would likely watch some of this year’s event from a treadmill or stationary bike.
On Saturday morning, Berkshire reported its first-quarter earnings and said it made
The conglomerate said that besides the investment gains, profit also improved at all of its major divisions — including insurance, utility, railroad, manufacturing and retail companies — as the economy continued to recover from the pandemic during the first three months of this year.
Buffett has long said Berkshire’s operating earnings offer a better view of quarterly performance because they exclude investments and derivatives, which can vary widely. By that measure, Berkshire’s operating earnings improved to
The four analysts surveyed by FactSet expected Berkshire to report operating earnings of
Berkshire continued its streak of major stock repurchases by investing
Berkshire shareholders rejected proposals that would have required the company to publish annual reports on climate change and on the company’s efforts to improve diversity throughout Berkshire. Buffett and the rest of the board opposed those measures largely because the company is decentralized and allows its subsidiaries to handle those issues themselves.
Buffett also said during the meeting that Berkshire’s largest contributors to carbon dioxide emissions — its utilities and BNSF railroad — already publish annual reports on their efforts to reduce climate change and reduce their emissions over time.