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CNBC Excerpts: Billionaire Investor Warren Buffett on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Today

When: Today, Monday, March 4th

Where: CNBC's "Squawk Box"

Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with billionaire investor Warren Buffett on CNBC's "Squawk Box" today. For more on Buffett's interview, including embeddable videos visit buffettwatch.cnbc.com.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

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Buffett on Berkshire Disappointing
IF IT'S GOING TO BE A DISAPPOINTING YEAR, I LIKE THE FACT WE MADE 24 BILLION. I'VE REGULARLY MEASURED THE PERFORMANCE OF BERKSHIRE BY THE CHANGE IN BOOK VALUE VERSUS THE S&P 500 WITH DIVIDENDS ADDED BACK. I MEAN, YOU CAN BUY AN INDEX FUND, A VERY LOW COST INDEX FUND AND GET THOSE RESULTS. SO UNLESS WE'RE DELIVERING SOMETHING BETTER THAN THOSE RESULTS OVER THE YEARS, WE AREN'T DOING ANYTHING.

Buffett on Heinz
HEINZ MAKES SENSE BECAUSE WE HAVE A BUSINESS WE LIKE, A PRICE THAT I LIKE AND A PRICE THAT I BARELY LIKE. BUT WE'VE GOT A GREAT BUSINESS. THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. THEN WE HAVE THESE TERRIFIC PARTNERS, JORGE PAULO LEMANN I'VE KNOWN FOR A DOZEN YEARS. YOU CAN'T FIND BETTER BUSINESS PEOPLE.

Buffett on Buyback
THE SUREST WAY TO MAKE MONEY IS TO BUY YOUR OWN DOLLAR BILLS FOR 80 CENTS OR 90 CENTS. IT'S NOT PRECISE WHAT THAT DOLLAR BILL IS. WHETHER OUR STOCK IS WORTH 138% OR 135%, I DON'T KNOW. I JUST KNOW IT'S WORTH MORE THAN 120%. BUT, YOU KNOW, IF SOMEBODY WALKS IN HERE, I DON'T HAVE TO KNOW WHETHER THEY WAY 300 POUNDS OR 350 POUNDS TO KNOW THEY'RE FAT. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE PRECISE ON THESE NUMBERS. IF WE GET CHANCES TO BUY OUR STOCK AT 120% OF BOOK OR LESS, WE WILL BE BUYING.

Buffett on Stimulus
THE SEQUESTER IN EFFECT REDUCES THE AMOUNT OF STIMULUS TO THE ECONOMY. THEY TALK ABOUT STIMULUS AND THEY SAY, WELL, THIS IS A STIMULUS BILL AND THEY VOTE 800 BILLION AND SAYS THIS IS STIMULUS. STIMULUS IS WHEN THE GOVERNMENT OPERATES AT A SIGNIFICANT DEFICIT. THAT IS STIMULUS BY KEYNES DEFINITION. WE'RE OPERATING AT A $1 TRILLION DEFICIT ROUGHLY. THE SEQUESTER REDUCES THAT A LITTLE BIT. RAISING THE TAXES AT THE START OF THE YEAR REDUCES THAT SOMEWHAT BUT WE'RE STILL OPERATING AT A DEFICIT THAT IS 6% OF GDP. BY KEYNES' DEFINITION, IN THE FOURTH YEAR OF A RECOVERY, THAT'S A PRETTY FAIR AMOUNT OF STIMULUS. SO IT HAS THE EFFECT OF REDUCING STIMULUS.

Buffett on Sequester
WE'RE GOING TO BRING DOWN SPENDING AND BRING UP REVENUES. WE MAY GET THERE IN FITS AND STARTS AND EVERYBODY MAY SCREAM EACH TIME WE DO IT, BUT THE DEFICIT IS GOING TO COME DOWN. I NEEDS TO COME DOWN AND IT WILL COME DOWN.

Buffett on Herbalife
I DO NOT HAVE A POSITION IN HERBALIFE. BUT BOTH BILL ACKMAN AND CARL ICAHN ARE MEMBERS OF THE GIVING PLEDGE. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE BOTH OF THEM MAKE A LOT OF MONEY BECAUSE THEY'RE GOING TO GIVE AT LEAST HALF OF IT AWAY TO CHARITY.

Buffett on the Fed
ALL OVER THE WORLD, EVERYBODY THAT MANAGES MONEY IS WAITING TO CATCH THE SIGNAL THAT THE FED WILL REVERSE COURSE. AND, YOU KNOW, THERE'S I THINK THEY'RE ON A HAIR TRIGGER. SO I THINK THE FED WILL TRY TO GET LITTLE SIGNALS HERE AND ALL OF THAT. BUT IN THE END, THERE ARE AN AWFUL LOT OF PEOPLE THAT WANT TO GET OUT OF A LOT OF ASSETS IF THEY THINK THE FED IS GOING TO TIGHTEN THE LOT.

Buffett on No Macroeconomics
CHARLIE MUNGER AND I HAVE BEEN BUYING STOCKS AND BUSINESSES THE FOR 50 YEARS. IN THAT ENTIRE TIME, WE'VE NEVER HAD A DISCUSSION OF MACROECONOMIC FACTORS IN MAKING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER TO BUY OR SELL A BUSINESS OR SECURITIES. IT JUST DOESN'T GET INTO OUR CONSIDERATION. IF I WERE BUYING A FARM, I WOULD NOT BE THINKING ABOUT WHAT THE FED WAS GOING TO DO. IF I WERE BUYING AN APARTMENT HOUSE, IF I WERE BUYING A BUSINESS OUTRIGHT I WOULDN'T. SO WHEN I BUY A PIECE OF A WONDERFUL BUSINESS LIKE COCA-COLA OR AMERICAN EXPRESS, IT IS NOT A MATTER FOR CONSIDERATION.

Buffett on Heinz 100 Years
THERE'S NOT A PRIVATE EQUITY DEAL. THIS IS A BUSINESS TO OWN. BERKSHIRE WILL OWN HEINZ A HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW AND THERE'S NO THOUGHT ON BERKSHIRE'S PART OF SELLING A SHARE.

Buffett on Burlington
I THINK YOU'LL SEE A SMALL INCREASE IN CAR LOADINGS THIS YEAR. AND I THINK -- I THINK BURLINGTON'S GOING TO DO QUITE WELL ON IT BECAUSE WE'RE WELL SITUATED IN RESPECT TO WHERE OIL HAS BEEN FOUND. SO WE ARE CARING MORE AND MORE OIL. WE'RE CARRYING ABOUT 10% OF ALL THE OIL THAT'S MOVING IN THE LOWER 48 CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES.

Buffett on Housing
WELL, HOUSING IS GETTING BETTER. I MEAN OUR BRICK BUSINESS IS BETTER, OUR CARPET BUSINESS IS BETTER. I WAS JUST TALKING TO PEOPLE AT USG, WALLBOARD BUSINESS IS BETTER. NOW THIS IS FROM A VERY LOW BASE. AND IT'S NOT GALLOPING BACK BUT IT'S MOVING BACK. AND WHAT THEY SEE FROM REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE FIRMS IS HOUSES ARE MOVING. SO WE'RE -- WE CONTINUE TO HAVE A SLOW RECOVERY.

Buffett on Manufacturing
WORLD WIDE, THE UNITED STATES IS DOING BETTER THAN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD. SO IF YOU LOOK AT AN ISCAR WHICH SELLS TO MANUFACTURES ALL OVER THE WORLD, THE UNITED STATES IS ONE OF THE STRONGER PLACES FOR AN ISCAR, AND THE UNITED STATES, IT'S NOT GALLOPING AT ALL. BUT WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS BIT BY BIT. AND EVERYBODY WOULD LOVE TO SEE IT FASTER. BUT IT'S NOT GOING INTO REVERSE. AND I DO NOT THINK THE SEQUESTER WILL CAUSE IT TO GO IN REVERSE.

Buffett on Cheap Money
CHEAP MONEY MAKES THINGS HAPPEN. IT MAKES ASSET VALUES HIGHER. WHEN ASSET VALUES ARE HIGHER PEOPLE DO HAVE A GREATER PROPENSIVE TO SPEND. THERE'S THESE SECOND ORDER EFFECTS. I THINK BERNANKE HAS SORT OF CARRIED THE LOAD HIMSELF DURING THIS PERIOD.

Buffett on Bank of America
WE HAVE WARRANTS THAT RUN FOR NINE YEARS. WE'RE GOING TO HOLD THE WARRANTS UNTIL THE END OF THAT PERIOD, EIGHT AND A HALF YEARS. AND, YOU KNOW, WE EXPECT BANK OF AMERICA IN EIGHT AND A HALF YEARS TO BE WORTH SIGNIFICANTLY MORE THAN IT IS NOW. I HAVE NO IDEA WHETHER IT'S GOING TO GO UP OR DOWN TOMORROW OR NEXT WEEK OR NEXT MONTH OR NEXT YEAR. BUT, THEY ARE MAKING PROGRESS IN GETTING RID OF A LOT OF THINGS THAT THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN IN. THEY'RE MAKING PROGRESS ON CLEANING UP MORTGAGE PROBLEMS FROM THE PAST. MOST OF WHICH CAME FROM COUNTRY -- THEIR ACQUISITION OF COUNTRYWIDE. THEY'RE DOING THE RIGHT THINGS.

Buffett on Dealing with an Activist Investor
I WOULD IGNORE HIM. I WOULD RUN THE BUSINESS IN SUCH A MATTER AS TO CREATE THE MOST VALUE OVER THE NEXT FIVE OR TEN YEARS. YOU CAN'T -- YOU CAN'T RUN A BUSINESS TO TRY AND RUN THE STOCK UP EVERY DAY.

Buffett on Apple
I THINK APPLE HAS DONE A PRETTY GOOD JOB OF BUILDING VALUE. THEY MAY HAVE TOO MUCH CASH AROUND, BUT ONE OF THE REASONS THEY HAVE THAT CASH AROUND IS BECAUSE TWO-THIRDS OF IT HAS NOT BEEN TAXED YET. THEY DON'T BRING IT IN BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO PAY THE TAX.

Buffett on Geico
THE ADS CAN GET THEM TO CALL US BUT THE ONLY REASON YOU BUY IS TO SAVE MONEY. AND, OUR CLOSURE RATE RIGHT NOW IS THE HIGHEST, GEICO IS SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT NOW, AND WE -- IN FEBRUARY, WE ADDED NET CLOSE TO -- RIGHT AT 165,000 OR 170,000 POLICIES. AND YOU KNOW, NOBODY ELSE IS DOING THAT.

Buffett on Minimum Tax
THE MINIMUM TAX IS STILL OUT THERE AS A PROPOSAL IN THE SENATE. AND I THINK IT MAKES SENSE. I THINK THAT I DON'T WANT TO NAME SOME OF MY FRIENDS THAT ARE IN SIMILAR LOW RATES, BUT I THINK THEY SHOULD BE PAYING AT THE RATES THAT THE PEOPLE WHO WORK IN, YOU KNOW, IN THIS WAREHOUSE PAY, AND THEY STILL HAVE A BIG BREAK.


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