Warren Buffett on Saturday took a dive into the 231-year history of the United States of America to predict the future of the country’s economy struggling to stay on its feet amid the struggle against coronavirus and lockdown: “Nothing can basically stop America.”
Multi-billionaire investor Warren Buffett on Saturday took a dive into the 231-year history of the United States of America to predict the future of the country’s economy struggling to stay on its feet amid the struggle against coronavirus and lockdown. “Nothing can basically stop America,” Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said at the firm’s AGM (annual general meeting), referring to the threat from coronavirus. “We’ve faced great problems in the past… The American miracle, the American magic has always prevailed and it will do so again,” Warren Buffett added in his annual address to shareholders.
Warren Buffett said he remained confident in the prospect of America’s economic growth, even as uncertainties abound. “Range of possibilities on the economic side are still extraordinarily wide. We don’t know what happens when you voluntarily shut down a portion of the economy,” he said. Even so, this, he said, was the best place and best time to be. If you were to pick a place and year to be born, it would be in America, and it would be 2020, he said. “What we have accomplished (in 231 years, since the birth of the USA) is miraculous,” Warren Buffett said.
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The Berkshire Hathaway 2020 AGM, held online, thanks to coronavirus, was a departure from the firm’s traditional annual meetings, widely regarded as the pilgrimage for investors from all over the world. Warren Buffett’s partner for about 60 years, the 96-year old Charlie Munger, was not present at the meeting. Warren Buffett assured investors that Charlie Munger is in good health, but it didn’t seem like a good idea for him to travel to Omaha to attend this meeting at this time. Warren Buffett was joined on the stage by Berkshire Hathaway’s Vice Chairman of Non Insurance Operations Greg Abel.
Earlier on Saturday, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reported a record net loss of nearly $50 billion (about 3.8 lakh crore in Indian rupees) for the fiscal first quarter (January-March) of 2020, mainly because of unrealised losses on investments. That was against a net profit of $21.66 billion in the same quarter a year ago. However, the company’s operating profit for the January-March quarter rose 6% on-year to $5.87 billion. Warren Buffett considers operating income a better performance measure for Berkshire Hathaway. At the same time, the firm’s cash in hand rose to $137.3 billion, another pain point for Berkshire Hathaway, which hasn’t found a worthy acquisition target in the last four years.