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Nov. 13, 2015, 9:18 AM
- The latest flare-up started last month when Warren Buffett compared activist investors to sharks that need to keep swimming. Then Charlie Munger took a jab at Bill Ackman's investment in Valeant, calling the company "deeply immoral."
- Firing back while speaking at a symposium in Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A, BRK.B) honor, no less, Bill Ackman criticized The Oracle for owning Coca-Cola, a company pushing harmful sugar-water on the world's children.
- The Wall Street adage: "Do as Warren Buffett does, not as he says."
- None of this is particularly new. From his home base in Omaha, Buffett for years has used Wall Street and its ways as easy fodder in his folksy letters and talks. What has changed is that the public looks to be catching on to what the Street says is a double standard for Buffett: Seven out of ten tweets with an opinion on Buffett this year have expressed a negative sentiment such as "phony" or "hypocrite," according to social-media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon. That's up from 46% five years ago.
- Source: WSJ
Nov. 10, 2015, 6:31 PM
- The U.S. Department of Transportation denies an appeal by railroads challenging new crude-by-rail rules that require the installation of expensive new brakes on trains hauling hazardous flammable materials.
- The rules issued in May include the phasing in of tougher tank car standards over several years and requirements for new braking systems on trains hauling more than 70 cars of crude oil by 2021.
- Relevant tickers include CSX, NSC, UNP, KSU, BRK.A, BRK.B, CNI, CP, TRN, GBX, WAB, ARII, RAIL
- Earlier: Norfolk Southern CEO says new rules could make oil-by-rail too expensive (May 5)
Nov. 8, 2015, 6:57 PM
- A Canadian Pacific Railway (NYSE:CP) train carrying crude oil derailed today in Wisconsin, the second day in a row a freight train derailed in the state.
- The CP train derailed in Watertown in southeastern Wisconsin; the company says at least 10 cars are off the tracks, and some are leaking.
- On Saturday, a BNSF Railway (BRK.A, BRK.B) freight train derailed near Alma in western Wisconsin, spilling thousands of gallons of ethanol.
- BNSF says five tankers are leaking ethanol, with one releasing an estimated 18K gallons.
Nov. 6, 2015, 4:34 PM
- Q3 operating earnings of $4.551B or $2,769 per Class A share vs. $4.724B and $2,876 a year ago.
- Investment earnings of $5.394B vs. a loss of $275M a year ago, thanks to an after-tax non-cash holding gain of $4.4B booked at the time of the merger of Kraft Foods and Heinz.
- Book value per Class A share of $151,083 up 3.3% YTD. Today's close of $203,100 puts the stock at 1.34x book.
- Previously: Berkshire Hathaway beats by $110.10 (Nov. 6)
Nov. 6, 2015, 4:24 PM
- Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B): Q3 EPS of $2769.00 beats by $110.10.
Oct. 19, 2015, 6:45 PM
- Railroads warn they are on track to miss a Dec. 31 deadline for installing complex new safety technology on trains that carry cargo, and are pushing Congress to extend the deadline or else oil, gasoline and other goods moved by rail could be stopped in their tracks, FuelFix reports.
- Major U.S. freight railroads, including BNSF (BRK.A, BRK.B), CSX and Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC), have said they will shut down many operations on Dec. 31 to comply with the deadline and avoid hefty fines; because railroads would be forced to begin shutting down services weeks earlier, they need a clear signal from Congress before the end of October, Association of American Railroads president Ed Hamberger says.
- The repercussions could be critical for the oil and gas industry, which has increasingly turned to rail to move crude and refined petroleum products across North America; railroads transported nearly 30K carloads of crude in 2010 but carried nearly 16x that amount in 2014.
Oct. 14, 2015, 3:14 PM
- “There’s been absolute radio silence on this issue,” says SwissRe (OTCPK:SSREF) Chairman Waltr Kieholz, referring to what had been the idea regulators might try and stamp the globe's largest reinsurers with the SIFI label. "I think nothing will come out of it this year and then it will fade away."
- Source: FT
- Kieholz says The Oracle's (BRK.A, BRK.B) status in U.S. financial and political circles has stemmed any move against the sector. "It's always helpful when Warren Buffett is on your side."
- Buffett denies any direct lobbying, but when you're Warren Buffett, a phone call is unnecessary. A CNBC appearance or dinner speech will do the trick, and he's been very active on that front.
- Regulators, of course, haven't been shy about forcing primary insurers to hold higher capital levels - AIG, Germany's Allianz, U.K.'s Prudential, and France's Axa to name four.
- Kieholz: "The idea that the whole economy goes under because of a reinsurance company failing is ridiculous ... If a reinsurer can't write new business, that might be unpleasant, but that is all."
Oct. 7, 2015, 1:11 PM
- Goldman Sachs is planning to release Q3 results on Oct. 15 on its own website, along with a tweet containing a link, according to Business Insider. Previous results were released on Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A, BRK.B) Business Wire.
- Business Wire plans to chat with Goldman in the hopes of maybe changing its mind.
Sep. 29, 2015, 6:06 PM
- Munich Re says that Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) had cut its stake in the German reinsurance company, to 9.7% from about 12% -- a money-where-your-mouth-is backing of Warren Buffett's feeling that reinsurance has taken a turn.
- Buffett had invested in Munich Re and peer Swiss Re (OTCPK:SSREY) from 2008 to 2010, at the end of which Berkshire triggered the 10% reporting threshold.
- But at Berkshire's annual meeting in May, Buffett said the reinsurance peak was "history": “It’s a business whose prospects have turned for the worse and there’s not much we can do about it."
- Recently, Berkshire also said it had bought another 3.5M shares of Phillips 66, bringing its beneficial ownership to 61.5M shares.
Sep. 10, 2015, 7:56 AM
- Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) discloses the purchase of another 3.5M shares of Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX), bringing its total stake in the company to 11.4%.
- The latest series of purchases, made during Sept. 4-9, brings BRK's beneficially owned shares to a total of 61.5M.
- The additional 3.5M shares are worth ~$282M at Wednesday's closing price of $80.65; including the newly-purchased shares, BRK's stake is now worth $4.9B.
- Earlier (Aug. 29): Berkshire returns to energy sector with $4.5B stake in Phillips 66
Sep. 8, 2015, 11:55 AM
- "I've still got money left to buy," says Warren Buffett (BRK.A, BRK.B), appearing on CNBC. "I never go below $20B in cash."
- On the Fed: "I've never made a decision based on what the Fed is going to do or not do." However, he puts on his FOMC hat and says he wouldn't be very aggressive on rate hikes. The economy, Buffett says, is growing at a steady, but not booming rate.
- On IBM: He purchased more shares in Q3.
- On BAC: Buffett would vote in favor of CEO Brian Moynihan retaining the chairman role. He's done a "first-class job," says The Oracle.
Aug. 29, 2015, 12:10 AM
- Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) discloses a $4.5B stake in Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX), as Warren Buffett takes a renewed interest in the energy industry after appearing to pull back from the group.
- Berkshire holds nearly 58M shares after purchases this week, or more than 10% of the total outstanding, according to an SEC filing late Friday.
- Earlier this month, Berkshire did not disclose an investment in PSX at the end of Q2 but said it had omitted some data that was reported confidentially to the SEC, which sometimes allows companies to withhold information from the public to limit copycat investing while a firm is building or cutting a position.
- The most recent figure BRK had given for a PSX investment was a 7.5M-share stake at the end of Q1.
- PSX shares fell below $70 on Monday amid the broad selloff before rebounding to end the week at $77.23.
Aug. 24, 2015, 7:47 PM
- Geico (BRK.A -3.2%, BRK.B -3.4%) will pay $6M to settle insurance discrimination charges first brought up by the Consumer Federation of California against the company.
- Geico was charged with quoting inflated rates to women, low-income and non-professional-level applicants. The company agrees not to consider education and occupation in sorting coverage limits via a three-year settlement.
- The payout could double to $12M if Geico's found to be not in substantial compliance.
Aug. 14, 2015, 6:10 PM
- Along with Warren Buffett cutting stakes in energy (but leaving Berkshire's "Big Four" alone), the latest 13F filing shows a telecom/media changeout as well.
- Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) boosted its stake in Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) -- itself in the process of buying out Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) -- by 42%, to about 8.5M shares ($1.5B worth).
- In the other direction, its stake in Viacom (VIA, VIAB) declined by 32%, to about $250M worth.
- A notation that confidential information has been omitted suggests a secretive stake is being built -- Berkshire used such a notation while building an IBM stake in 2011 -- but confirmation won't come for three months, in mid-November.
- After hours: VIAB +0.8%; CHTR +0.1%.
- 13F filing
Aug. 14, 2015, 5:56 PM
- Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) disclosed in its latest 13F filing that it sold off its shares in Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) and National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV) during Q2, as it continued to cut its positions in energy companies.
- Meanwhile, BRK kept unchanged its stakes in its “Big Four” holdings American Express (NYSE:AXP), Coca Cola (NYSE:KO), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) and IBM.
- Warren Buffett seemed to hint during a CNBC interview this week that BRK may have built up its IBM stake in the current quarter, saying "I love it when it goes down" when asked whether he was concerned about the stock’s recent performance.
- Buffett’s only new stake in the quarter was a 20M-share investment in auto paint maker Axalta Coating Systems (NYSE:AXTA), which BRK bought from Carlyle Group.
Aug. 11, 2015, 4:12 PM
- Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A, BRK.B) AA credit rating along with that of its insurance subsidiaries have been placed on CreditWatch Negative by S&P.
- At issue is uncertainty over how Berkshire's announced $37.2B acquisition (debt included) of Precision Castparts will be funded, and S&P expects The Oracle to use some of the capital resources available at his insurance units, which could affect their ratios.
- S&P will monitor and expects to update or resolve the CreditWatch negative listing within the next 90 days.
- Previously: Buffett pays high price for Precision Castparts (Aug. 10)
Berkshire Hathaway Inc is a conglomerate holding company owning subsidiaries engaged in a number of business activities, including property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, utilities and energy, finance, manufacturing, service and retailing.
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