Warren Buffett hungry for deals

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

Warren Buffett explained in his annual shareholder letter, "I have regularly told you that I expect Berkshire to attain an underwriting profit in a majority of years, but also to experience losses from time to time". And previously when the tax was 35 percent we would have had a $35 billion reserve for taxes against that as a liability.

"Including gyrations of that magnitude in reported net income will swamp the truly important numbers that describe our operating performance". The $65 billion gain is nonetheless real - rest assured of that. And he's found himself at odds with Trump on several policy issues.

This could be the reason why Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway is sitting idle on a heap of cash of $116 billion and short-term treasury bills - and still smiling. He went on to describe the iPhone as a "very stick product". Overall - and over time - we should get decent results. "Indeed, price seemed nearly irrelevant to an army of optimistic purchasers", he said. Known for his frugality, Buffett still uses a flip phone.

Buffett also said his company does have a plan for when he's no longer at the helm, despite the 87-year-old's stance that he has "never felt better".

Combs, who's on the board of JPMorgan, has likely talked about the idea with Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, Buffett said. "But Charlie and I sleep well".

Once again Buffett this year lays out in simple terms how Berkshire performed over the past year, provides some insights into the environment, and enlightens us with some investment guidance.

Almost every company can make mistakes in the insurance business, including Buffett's own firm, he said. Buffett built a large portion of the company based on "float", which is the money he collects and holds from insurance premiums before he must pay it out in claims.

Buffett said "the purchasing frenzy" had been in part driven by the nature of the CEO role, which "self-selects for "can-do" types".


To Toth, the alignment between the relatively negative letters and market downturn also demonstrated how Buffett managed positive messages to shareholders and the business world, despite overvalued markets and the impending economic slowdown.

And he estimated the chances of a "mega-catastrophe" this year - one causing losses of at least $400 billion - at 2%.

His latest newsletter reports that Berkshire's net earnings previous year rose from US$24.07 billion to US$44.94 billion.

That said, "no company comes close to Berkshire in being financially prepared for a $400 billion" mega-catastrophe - known as "mega-cat".

Buffett concluded with a little advice to fellow investors: "Though markets are generally rational, they occasionally do insane things".

"When major declines occur, however, they offer extraordinary opportunities to those who are not handicapped by debt".

He added that investors need "an ability to both disregard mob fears or enthusiasms and to focus on a few simple fundamentals" even if makes them "look foolish".

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