May 19, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Warren Buffett takes the stage without Charlie Munger for the first time

Warren Buffett takes the stage without Charlie Munger for the first time

This year’s Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting so far has seen a very reflective Warren Buffett appear.

As Saturday marked Berkshire’s first annual meeting since the death of Charlie Munger in November, the longtime absence of Buffett’s right-hand man, as expected, weighed on the proceedings.

As Yahoo Finance’s Sheena Smith reported from inside the building in Omaha, Saturday is a “tough day” for Berkshire shareholders.

But Munger’s absence was felt in more ways than one.

At one point, Buffett turned to Charlie for his input on the answer, just to steady himself and get cheers from the crowd.

Buffett also regaled the audience with a story about two stocks former Vice President Charlie Munger said forcefully that Berkshire needed to buy — BYD (BYDDY) and Costco (COST) — and admitted he didn’t listen enough to the latter.

Longtime contributors will likely insert an imagined one-liner from Munger in response. Without Munger’s presence, Buffett’s reflections remained clearer during the proceedings.

Although it’s not breaking news that a CEO approaching his mid-90s might reflect more than just expectations, Buffett’s public tone on Saturday was more clear about his limitations today and his future inability to reshape Berkshire Hathaway.

Buffett male And that, at the age of ninety-three, he does not work “at the same level of efficiency” as he did a few decades ago. The Oracle of Omaha quipped that he likely won’t sign any 4-year employment agreements.

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Regarding artificial intelligence, Buffett offered the view that some of his experiences with technology made him feel stressed.

But, in the end, he said, “As someone who understands nothing about it, it has enormous potential for good and enormous potential for harm.”

When asked by shareholders about future investments in China, Canada and India, Buffett offered similar versions of the view that he holds a limited view of what might one day become possible.

Buffett noted that US companies will likely always be the most prominent part of Berkshire’s portfolio. Buffett knows that how ratios might change will not be his call in the coming decades.