Takeaways From Buffett's Address To Berkshire AGM

Speaking at Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb., Buffett argued that healthcare costs - rather than high taxes - were the biggest problem facing American businesses.

Jay Gelb from the analyst panel asks if Berkshire will consider raising its buyback floor higher than 120% of book value, reminding the audience that Mr. Buffett said previous year that raising the floor might be an option if Berkshire had $100 billion or $120 billion in cash sitting around and it "really becomes apparent that we cannot use capital effectively within the company".

Warren Buffett says owning an index fund is better than owning shares in his own company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Buffett did lavish much praise on top insurance executive Ajit Jain, who some investors believe could be that successor, saying "nobody could possibly replace Ajit. We got it wrong on IBM and will find out whether we are wrong on Apple", Buffett said.

Among the bank's many mistakes, "there was one that dwarfs all the others", Buffett said.

Wells Fargo spokesman Mark Folk said "we agree" with Buffett's comments, and have taken "decisive actions" to fix the problems and "make things right for customers".

Of course, whether we see a cyber, biological, or nuclear attack we'll all have more to worry about than the price of Berkshire Hathaway stock but it's good to know what keeps Buffett up at night.

The high cost of USA health care puts American businesses at a competitive disadvantage with other countries.

"The huge money is in selling people the idea that you can do something magical for them", Buffett said. "The CEO has to act", Buffett said.

"I think they would agree that it's tougher to run $10 billion than it is to run one or two billion", he said.

So, he said, if people remembered him as being a good teacher, he would be OK with that.

"Stupidity", Buffett said during an interview Monday on CNBC's "Squawk Box". Berkshire announced Friday that it had sold one-third of its stake in the struggling technology company. While Buffett met Mr Peanut at the Kraft Heinz booth, Miami Dolphin player Ndamukong Suh wandered about 1m away without a crowd.

More than 30,000 people are expected to attend the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting where Buffett and his Vice Chairman Charlie Munger preside over a Q&A session.

"I think it's a neat way to keep the enthusiasm up in shareholders", said Jerry Meyer, who drove to Omaha with family from Coffeyville, Kansas.

  • Eleanor Harrison