Warren Buffett Answers Tough Questions at Annual Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting

warren buffet speaks at the annual berkshire hathaway shareholder meetingThe spotlight was on Warren Buffett this weekend as the much-revered investor spoke at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting.

Many people were interested as to what Buffett would have to say, given the current state of the economy and the performance of Berkshire Hathaway over the past year.

The annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting is normally a lovefest as awestruck investors lavish praise on Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway.

However, given the decline in Berkshire's shares over the past year or so, many were expecting that Buffett would be faced with some tough questions.

Buffett, as usual, was candid with his responses and didn't try to sugarcoat the recent performance of Berkshire Hathaway.

A few comments from Buffett this weekend that really stood out for me were:

1. His assertion that he wouldn't buy newspapers at "any price". These comments will surely cause more weakness in an already reeling newspaper industry. I would expect more weakness in companies such as NYT and NWS on Monday.

2. His assertion that the United States largely handled the financial crisis properly, but that these recent moves will likely result in inflation down the road.

3. His contention that he still expects Berkshire Hathaway to make money on the "lion's share" of derivatives contracts that it has written in recent years. These contracts have been the source of much consternation from Berkshire investors.

4. Buffett spoke out strongly on Wells Fargo, and said that Berkshire would own all of the company if bank ownership rules allowed it.

5. Buffett, in an interview with ABC News this weekend, suggested that the US economy will rise like a "terrific athlete".

My overall takeaway from Buffett this weekend? He's got a gloomy forecast for both Berkshire Hathaway and the US economy in general over the short and medium-term, but he's still a long-term bull.

Filed under: General Market News

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