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Berkshire’s Annual Meeting Answers Some Questions but Not Others

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Berkshire’s annual meeting

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) held its annual meeting on May 4. The meeting has often offered insight into chair Warren Buffett’s investment strategy. Buffett and vice chair Charlie Munger take questions from participants on a wide array of topics ranging from macro aspects like the economy and politics to micro aspects like companies in Berkshire’s portfolio.

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Warren Buffett

This year was no different, and Buffett and Munger presented their views on topics ranging from succession planning, deal making, share buybacks, bitcoin, and socialism. On a more micro level, Buffett answered questions on some of the companies in Berkshire’s portfolio including Wells Fargo (WFC), Apple (AAPL), and Kraft Heinz (KHC). The legendary investor also talked about the proposed Occidental Petroleum transaction and Amazon (AMZN). Just last week, Berkshire made two key announcements. The company committed $10 billion to Occidental Petroleum in its hostile takeover battle for Anadarko Petroleum. Buffett also disclosed that Berkshire has taken a position in Amazon. Read Buying Amazon Might Not Make Up for Buffett’s ‘Terrible Mistake’ for more analysis.

Underperformance

Berkshire’s 2019 annual meeting came at a time when Buffett was facing some criticism for the company’s recent underperformance versus the S&P 500 (SPY). While Buffett answered several questions at this year’s meeting, markets were left asking for more on questions like succession planning and additional disclosures on Berkshire’s operating companies.

One of the most pressing questions that investors had was about Berkshire’s massive cash pile. In this year’s annual meeting, Buffett offered insights into how the company plans to deploy its cash.

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