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Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reports record profit

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reports record profit

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reports record profit

In his annual letter, the Berkshire Hathaway chairman did not pick out overvalued equity markets, as he has done in previous years, but said the active M&A environment had made prices "almost irrelevant to an army of optimistic purchasers".

Berkshire on Saturday reported a record quarterly and annual profit, both of which received a $29.1 billion boost from the recent lowering of the US corporate income tax rate, which reduced its deferred tax liabilities.

"Not as many companies have lots of appreciation in marketable securities, but it's a big item for those that do", Buffett said.

Warren Buffett is worth upwards of $86 billion, runs a $500-billion financial services company, is an avowed philanthropist and was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 United States presidential campaign.

Interestingly, S&P 500 has outperformed Berkshire Hathaway in just 17 out of the 53 years, which included two years (1974 and 1990) where both delivered negative returns, but S&P 500 delivered lower negative returns compared to Berkshire Hathaway.

Buffett also discussed other means to deploy Berkshire's $116-billion cash stake, after saying in the letter he desired one or more "huge" acquisitions of non-insurance businesses.

The three announced last month a venture created to cut health costs and improve services for their US employees. Shares climbed more than 3.5% intraday.

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He said much of that gain was due to the tax-reform bill. "The question is whether we can come up with something better".

Buffett reiterated his belief in investing in companies with solid underlying businesses. For Apple, Buffett's holding constitutes only 3.3 percent of the company.

Not that Berkshire Hathaway would escape such a storm itself.

Buffett also warned long-term investors including pension funds, college endowments and "savings-minded individuals" that even with USA stock prices near record highs, it would be a "terrible mistake" to assume bonds are safer. But being the good grandchildren we are, we humor him because after all, he took the time to write to us, and the least we can do after all these years is act like we care.

"If you look at our holdings, you would assume that we like them in the order in which they rank by dollar value of holdings, but if you look at them in terms of recent purchases over the past year we've bought more Apple than anything else", said Buffett.

But don't ask Buffett what he personally likes about the iPhone. The stocks included, American Express, Apple Inc, Bank of America, The Bank of New York Mellon, BYD Co, Charter Communications, The Coca-Cola Co, Delta Airlines, General Motors, The Goldman Sachs Group, Moody's Corp, Phillips, Southwest Airlines, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo.

That surprised John Fox, chief investment officer at FAM Funds, which holds Berkshire stock.

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