Berkshire Hathaway’s big annual meeting in Omaha, often called the “Woodstock for Capitalists,” took place this weekend in its first annual shareholder meeting in person since 2019.
Ahead of the weekend meeting, Berkshire Hathaway reported profits of $5.5 billion, down from $11.7 billion a year ago. The loss was largely due to the drop in stock prices for the quarter, and rising claims costs at its insurance businesses. Berkshire owns a diverse portfolio of businesses, including Geico and See’s Candies.
Berkshire revealed it had been ramping up its bets in the stock market, buying more than $51 billion during the market’s downturn. Berkshire also unveiled new multi-billion dollar investments. Buffett said Berkshire increased its investment in Chevron to nearly $26 billion, making it the fourth largest stock holding for Berkshire. The company’s biggest holding is in Apple, followed by Bank of America and American Express.
Buffett also said Berkshire has been increasing its stake in Activision Blizzard ahead of Microsoft’s deal to acquire the video game company.
Caleb Silver, Investopedia's editor-in-chief, stated: "While Buffett stressed the fact that Berkshire is perfectly fine holding a lot of cash on its books, it is notable that the company spent $51 billion in the past quarter. Buffett leaved it up to his own investing axiom: 'Buy when others are fearful."
Finally, Buffett took aim at investment banks, saying they were encouraging speculative behavior and turning the stock market into a “gambling parlor.” He also said he doesn’t believe in Bitcoin and won’t be buying any.
Berkshire’s class A stock price (BRK.A) is up 7.5% so far this year, while the S&P 500 is down 13%.