A record crowd is expected this weekend in Omaha for the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A) annual shareholder meeting. In the first quarter of 2010, on February 12th, I was interviewed by CBS Radio Chicago WBBM780’s Sherman Kaplan and Kris Kridel around the time BRK.B shares were split 50-1 to reach the most investors for a more affordable price. Friday, BRK-B shares closed at $77 per share, a steady rise since shareholders voted for the split in mid-January when the stock was trading around $65 per share.
At the beginning of Q4 2009, we had the opportunity to ask Buffett a vital question about where to invest our money, in the U.S. or abroad, with our good friend Poppy Harlow of CNN Money. At the time, he was investing in selective U.S. companies, like us, and it proved to pay off (just take a snapshot of a Dow or S&P chart from Oct 1st, 2009 to today and you will see the trend of investment).
Thursday night, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett gave his first television interview to FOX Business Network’s Liz Claman, saying he has seen an uptick in sales as of March, and discussed expectations for the shareholder meeting and the one thing that’s off the record this year.
On business being up this year, Warren Buffett told Liz Claman, “What a difference a year makes…we have seen in all our businesses a big upswing starting in March. It was creeping up a little until then, but in March, around the world, we saw a real change. Mostly in the United States and Asia Pacific, but Europe not as much, but in our Iscar business, for example, every day we’re getting orders in terms of small tools that are getting used. Nobody is buying those for speculation or anything. So we really have our finger on what’s going on firmly.”
On there being a record breaking crowd this year at the Berkshire Main Event, Warren Buffett said, “I’d be stressed out if it wasn’t a record-breaking crowd. No, this is fun. I mean, these are people in the meeting, they are our partners, they come from all over the world and I love it.”
He also said, “Well, we’ve got 80 or 90 from Sweden. We’ve got 28 from Turkey. We have 60 or 70 from Singapore. They are from all over the world. I mean, I don’t know whether there’s 40 countries or 50. And the people that send in for tickets from outside the United States, they all show up.”
On breaking sales records this year, the Oracle of Omaha said, “[I check the numbers] every night. On Tuesday night, I can tell you, at the Furniture Mart on Tuesday, we did 5.2 million of business. Now, on a normal Tuesday, we do 700,000. So it was 5.2 million, which was up 54 percent from a year ago. We will break all the records this year. If you talk to anybody who’s in the furniture business, 5 million is a big month. And we did it on Tuesday.”
On what he’ll talk about this year at the big annual meeting this weekend, Buffett told Claman, “You name it. Anything except my diet. I refuse to talk about that.”
Disclosure: No positions in the companies mentioned.