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Berkshire Hathaway IncNYSE
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  • Mon, Dec. 5, 3:49 PM
    • Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) could see $29B added to its book vale under Trump tax cuts, according to Barclays' Jay Gelb.
    • Gelb notes Berkshire is higher by more than 8% since the election vs. the S&P 500's 3.15% advance. No doubt the prospect of a sustained move higher in interest rates is helping The Oracle's substantial bank holdings, but Gelb suggests the market is also pricing in the benefit of tax cuts.
    • Source: Bloomberg
    | Mon, Dec. 5, 3:49 PM | 15 Comments
  • Mon, Nov. 21, 4:24 PM
    • The SEC is September was curious about how Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) justified its decision to assign a value of $26B for "intangible assets" for the recently-acquired Precision Castparts and Duracell.
    • Production of aerospace and industrial gas turbine parts “requires a sizable investment in inventory, workforce, and property, plant, and equipment, and there are few competitors,” says Berkshire CFO Marc Hamburg, responding to the SEC inquiry.
    • Source: Bloomberg
    | Mon, Nov. 21, 4:24 PM
  • Mon, Nov. 14, 4:48 PM
    • After famously shunning the airline industry for ever, Warren Buffett has jumped in, with Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) showing stakes in American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL), United Continental (NYSE:UAL), and Delta Airlines (NYSE:DAL) as of Sept. 30.
    • It's not on the 13F filing, but CNBC reports Berkshire as also having taken a stake in Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV).
    • Buffett's last play in airlines was a $358M preferred stake in U.S. Airways in the late 1980s. He eventually profited, but not before having to ride major losses which soured him on the industry.
    • AAL +3.4%, UAL +1.7%, DAL +2.3%, LUV +3.1% after hours
    • Buffett on the airlines circa 2002: “If a capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk back in the early 1900s, he should have shot Orville Wright ... The airline business has been extraordinary. It has eaten up capital over the past century like almost no other business."
    | Mon, Nov. 14, 4:48 PM | 141 Comments
  • Fri, Nov. 11, 6:54 PM
    • Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) shares concluded one of their best weeks in years, surging at least 9.5% and touching record highs while pushing Chairman Warren Buffett's net worth to $70.3B.
    • It's an ironic twist, given that this week's stock market rally was fueled by the election of Donald Trump, whom Buffett vigorously opposed.
    • U.S. stocks rallied over the past three days on expectations of greater government spending, higher interest rates and fewer regulations under Trump, which could highly benefit many of BRK's businesses and investments.
    • BRK's BNSF railroad, for example, has seen profit fall 19% in 2016, hurt by declining shipments of coal, but the coal industry could be strengthened if Trump fulfills his promise to boost mining and perhaps ease limits on carbon emissions.
    • Also, some of BRK’s biggest stock holdings are financial services companies, including Wells Fargo, which skyrocketed 16% this week.
    • Buffett reiterated his confidence in equities earlier today, saying "The stock market will be higher 10, 20, 30 years from now. It would have been with Hillary, and it... will be with Trump."
    | Fri, Nov. 11, 6:54 PM | 57 Comments
  • Fri, Nov. 11, 11:12 AM
    • The idea put forth by some market pundits that stocks would plunge after a Trump victory were "silly," says Warren Buffett (BRK.A, BRK.B) in a CNN interview. Stocks will be higher 10, 20, and 30 years from now, and it would be so no matter who won the election.
    • Trumps threats of import tariffs on goods from China and Mexico are a very bad idea, says Buffett, but not necessarily enough to cause a recession. He notes that rewriting trade agreements is something he's going to need Congress' support on, and this isn't a given even though Republicans are in control of both chambers.
    | Fri, Nov. 11, 11:12 AM | 89 Comments
  • Tue, Nov. 8, 2:20 PM
    • Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) reported a record cash hoard of $85B at the end of Q3. Warren Buffett likes to hold $20B as a cushion, says Barclays' Jay Gelb, leaving him more than $60B to put to work. Barron's Andrew Bary says the practical number is smaller - closer to $45B - but that still leaves enough for an "elephant-sized acquisition."
    • That's only if he can find the right price, and a stock market at record highs could make that difficult. Last year's Precision Castparts purchase for $37.2B was Berkshire's largest acquisition to date. One speculated target is Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX). Its current market cap is just over $42B.
    | Tue, Nov. 8, 2:20 PM | 50 Comments
  • Fri, Nov. 4, 6:50 PM
    • Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) reports higher Q3 operating earnings and revenues, but 24% lower net income Y/Y as it tallied lower investment gains.
    • Q3 operating profit of BRK's insurance underwriting business, which includes Geico, fell 34% Y/Y to $272M; insurance investment income’s operating profit rose to $850M: operating profit at the railroad, utilities and energy segments was roughly flat at $1.95B; operating profit from other businesses gained 38% to $2.04B; insurance float rose to $91B during the quarter.
    • Burlington Northern Santa Fe's Q3 operating profit fell 12% Y/Y, as the weak energy market continued to weigh on freight volume and prices.
    • BRK also reports a $22.1B stake in Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), suggesting it held onto its 10% position even amid the start of the scandal over the bank's creation of unauthorized customer accounts; BRK is WFC's largest shareholder.
    • With $85B in cash at the end of the quarter, Warren Buffett still has plenty of cash on hand for future acquisitions if he so desires.
    | Fri, Nov. 4, 6:50 PM | 82 Comments
  • Fri, Nov. 4, 4:19 PM
    • Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B): Q3 Operating EPS of $2,951.00 vs. $2,769.00 in 3Q15
    • Shares +0.15%.
    • Press Release
    | Fri, Nov. 4, 4:19 PM | 46 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 20, 11:32 AM
    • Reinsurers sell coverage to other insurance companies for natural disasters and such. While they wait for loss-triggering events to happen, the reinsurers collect premiums which they can then invest. Warren Buffett (BRK.A, BRK.B) credits this "float" as a big factor behind his great fortune.
    • But business isn't what it used to be, write Sonali Basak and Noah Buhayar in Bloomberg, and Buffett sold stakes in Swiss Re and Munich Re last year, saying prospects over the next decade don't look great. He also put new leadership in charge of Berkshire's General Re to try and reverse more than a decade of shrinking float.
    • Among the issues are what's turned into years of barely visible interest rates. “It is no fun,” says The Oracle, to “find out that a great many of the things that you were buying a few years ago now have negative yields.” It's also become a more crowded field with the entrants first of David Einhorn (NASDAQ:GLRE) and more recently Dan Loeb (NYSE:TPRE) helping to create a price war, with premiums down 40% over the past decade.
    • Insurers can also now turn to investment banks to lay off risk by issuing catastrophe bonds - a market that's grown from $9.2B to $25B over the last ten years.
    • A shakeout is already underway as there have been a number of sector mergers. What might further shake things up would be a catastrophe big enough to cause significant industry losses.
    • Interested parties: CB, RNR, AHL, ENH, AXS, ACGL, RGA, UNM
    | Thu, Oct. 20, 11:32 AM | 1 Comment
  • Fri, Oct. 7, 3:50 AM
    • Mars Inc. has finally taken full control of Wrigley, formally putting M&Ms and Skittles in the same division to create the Mars Wrigley Confectionery.
    • In so doing, Mars is buying out the minority stake that Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) has owned in Wrigley since Warren Buffett helped engineer the $23B takeover in 2008.
    • Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed, though previous preferred-stock investments by Berkshire charged a premium if they were cashed out ahead of schedule.
    | Fri, Oct. 7, 3:50 AM | 10 Comments
  • Thu, Sep. 29, 4:35 PM
    • "We spoke for five minutes. I told him the problem was bigger than he thought," says Warren Buffett, confirming to CNBC's Becky Quick that he's talked to Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) CEO John Stumpf. The call to Stumpf, says Buffett, came after the CEO's appearance on Mad Money, which Buffett thought didn't go well. The Oracle says he has not spoken to other board members.
    • As for whether he's buying or selling here, Buffett says regulatory limits currently prevent Berkshire (BRK.A, BRK.B) from adding to its position. He reminds he's never told anyone whether he would stick around in this or any other position.
    • Shares -0.3% after hours following a 2.1% decline in the regular session.
    • Previously: Buffett denies report he wants big changes at Wells Fargo - CNBC (Sept. 29)
    | Thu, Sep. 29, 4:35 PM | 85 Comments
  • Thu, Sep. 29, 12:00 PM
    • Doug Kass earlier today said Warren Buffett (BRK.A, BRK.B) "expressed his extreme dissatisfaction" to the Wells Fargo (WFC -0.7%) board, and called for "a radical transformation of the bank's ethics.
    • However, a spokesperson for The Oracle tells CNBC's Becky Quick the claim Buffett expressed "extreme dissatisfaction" to the board is not true.
    | Thu, Sep. 29, 12:00 PM | 45 Comments
  • Wed, Sep. 21, 3:50 PM
    • Reached by Fox Business for his thoughts on the Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) scandal, the bank's largest shareholder says he's going to stay mum until November. For good measure, he says he's also going to stay silent on the presidential election.
      "If I start commenting on that or anything else, it will lead down too many paths so I will wait until November to speak about it, the election or any other subject."
    • The owner of nearly 10% of Wells Fargo, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) this summer applied to the Fed for permission to raise its holdings above that threshold, so it's possible rules related to that process prevent Buffett from speaking out.
    • Looking back at The Oracle's reaction to an ethical lapse at Salomon Brothers 25 years ago could give a hint. Buffett took over as CEO, and in Congressional testimony said, "Lose money for my firm and I will be understanding; lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless."
    • With stocks and the big banks solidly in the green, Wells is underperforming again, down 1.6% on the session.
    | Wed, Sep. 21, 3:50 PM | 91 Comments
  • Tue, Sep. 20, 3:21 PM
    • Yet to be heard from since the account opening scandal hit Wells Fargo (WFC +2.1%) is its largest shareholder, and Dick Bove suggests The Oracle may be rethinking his investment.
    • It's no coincidence, says Bove, that on the day of Stumpf's Capital Hill grilling, it was announced that key Buffett lieutenant Todd Combs was joining the board of JPMorgan - a bank in which Berkshire (BRK.A, BRK.B) has no stake. "[Buffett] is clearly walking away from Wells Fargo," says Bove.
    • How exactly Buffett is going to just "walk away" from a 9.5% stake in the bank is another story, of course. There's also Buffett's long history - the man seems far more likely to be a buyer, rather than seller, in these sorts of situations (see the American Express salad oil scandal).
    • Bove cuts his price target to $40 from $44.
    | Tue, Sep. 20, 3:21 PM | 134 Comments
  • Tue, Sep. 20, 7:21 AM
    • Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) investment officer Todd Combs - rumored to be part of the Buffett succession plan - has been elected to the Board of Directors at JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), effective September 19.
    • Prior to joining Berkshire in 2010, Combs was the founder and CEO of Castle Point Capital. Warren Buffett has called his hiring "one of my best moves."
    | Tue, Sep. 20, 7:21 AM | 9 Comments
  • Fri, Sep. 16, 3:57 PM
    • Charlie Gasparino is reporting those close to Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) John Stumpf as saying his job is in jeopardy over the account opening scandal.
    • With pressure mounting and two congressional appearances set for the next couple of weeks for Stumpf and team, a vote of confidence from Warren Buffett (BRK.A, BRK.B) might be in order, but The Oracle has been curiously silent for now.
    • A new story from the WSJ's Emily Glazer describes conditions at Wells Fargo branches in which tremendous pressure was put on employees to meet sales targets for the bank which championed itself as king of the cross-sell.
    • Managers suggested workers hunt for prospects at bus stops and retirement homes, and branch bosses are described as constantly monitoring progress towards sales goals, sometimes hourly. Numbers at the branch level were reported to higher-ranking mangers as many as seven times a day.
    • In Tucson, a common tactic was to tell wealthier, existing customers that the bank was going to send them a new credit card as a "thank you" for their business. If the customer didn't want the card, they could cut it up, but in the meantime, credit was pulled, which could ding the customer's credit score.
    • Shares are down another 1.6% today, again underperforming Wells' big bank peers.
    | Fri, Sep. 16, 3:57 PM | 134 Comments