"In recent decades, our country’s rising tide has not lifted the boats of the poor," writes Warren Buffett.» Read More
Warren Buffett unapologetically defended Berkshire Hathaway's lending unit on Saturday from accusations of predatory lending, telling CNBC in an interview that he's never even received as much as "one letter of complaint" about its practices.
Meanwhile, one of the world's wealthiest men also proved he can win even when he's doesn't try. Buffett told CNBC he wasn't following this year's Kentucky Derby, yet managed to correctly predict the contest's winner hours before the race was even decided.
In April, two published reports implied Clayton Homes might be fleecing struggling home owners, and suggested that buyers were being saddled with high borrowing costs and houses with falling values. Buffett, however, had a different take, and used the occasion of Berkshire's annual meeting to break his silence on the controversy.
"We are not forcing loans on anybody. If they had a loan with us they didn't like, they can pass off and borrow from somebody else," Buffett told CNBC on the sidelines of the company's meeting. "We have 300,000 loans on the books and in the last 3 years I've not received one letter of complaint from anybody."
At the meeting, Buffett said that many of Clayton's buyers posed higher risks, and charging them higher interest rates was justified.
"It's true that manufactured housing hits the lower end of the market," he said, adding that Clayton actually helps borrowers by providing reasonable loan terms.
He told CNBC that in certain cases, Clayton Homes has worked to modify loan terms for strapped borrowers.
Warren Buffett said on Saturday he bought more IBM stock for Berkshire Hathaway in the first quarter, but didn't specify by how much.
In a conversation with CNBC's Becky Quick ahead of today's shareholders meeting in Omaha, Buffett told her the exact numbers will be in the company's SEC filing revealing its stock holdings as of the end of March. That filing is due around the middle of this month.
A Berkshire Hathaway in transition will greet the tens of thousands of shareholders flocking to Omaha, Nebraska, this weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Warren Buffett's acquisition of the company.
Starting in 1965, Buffett initially converted the former Massachusetts textile maker into a gigantic stock holding company with purchases financed by the premiums paid to its substantial insurance operations.
In recent years, however, the company has made another dramatic transformation.
Berkshire has become more of a diversified conglomerate as it puts billions of dollars into buying all or big chunks of money-generating companies such as BNSF, Heinz, the big car dealer chain Van Tuyl Group, and most recently, Kraft Foods,
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said he believes the Federal Reserve won't be in any hurry to increase interest rates—in part because of the softer U.S. economy at the start of the year, but more so due to what's going on in European bond markets.
As for the aggravating factor of weaker economic growth, Buffett said he does see some bright spots. "Things like autos are very strong; things like housing are a little better." He continued, "In our rail car holdings, you see that it isn't that strong but on the other hand it's not going backwards at all."
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The government on Wednesday reported that first-quarter gross domestic product grew at a lower-than-expected 0.2 percent. The economy grew 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter and 5 percent in the third quarter of 2014.
Many economists are expecting a pickup in growth in the second half of the year, and even the Fed in its policy statement after its April meeting on Wednesday downplayed the GDP print for the first three months of the year.
In fact, according to an analysis by CNBC earlier this month, three decades of government GDP data suggests a longstanding trend of lackluster first-quarter growth. It's unclear what's caused the trend, but Buffett said, "You wonder about seasonal adjustments."
But all things considered, the U.S. is "doing well," even under a longer-term growth rate of around 2 percent, he argued. "We might like to see more growth … [but] 1 percent inflation means that in a generation things improved 20 percent per capita, and that's another $10,000 of GDP per capita in one generation. That's fabulous."
Whether it's the U.S. economy or negative yields in Europe or some other factor, Wall Street continues to play the guessing-game over when the Fed might raise rates for the first time in nearly 10 years. The Fed policy statement also removed all calendar guidance. Earlier this year, June was favored by economists as the likely start. But now, September has emerged as the best bet for liftoff.
Buffett will be presiding over Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska. The 50th anniversary celebration of the company is expected to draw a larger than usual crowd of 40,000 people.
Warren Buffett recently said he thinks the car-dealership franchise model isn't going to change. I wouldn't be so sure.
At the NADA/J.D. Power Automotive Forum in New York recently, Buffett said, "When a distribution system [car dealers] becomes that firmly established, there's a reason for it."
But, of course, everything changes. We have seen entire established industries collapse given the technologies that are available to us today.
As the market enters an environment of uncertainty in the second quarter, Jim Cramer thought it was time to dig into his bag of tricks on the best way to fight a slowdown.
What is one thing he knows about slowdowns? Stocks with dividends tend to outperform.
This is because if when the economy slows down, most investors assume there will be lower interest rates, which means stocks with higher dividends face less competition from the bond market.
Now this doesn't mean that Cramer thinks investors should just jump on board with any stock out there with a good dividend. Instead, the "Mad Money" host took a cue from the Oracle of Omaha himself to help navigate the market of uncertainty.
Speaking to CNBC at a forum hosted by the National Automobile Dealers Association, J.D. Power and the New York International Auto Show, Buffett said he did not anticipate much of a threat from the electric car company's direct-to-consumer model because of Tesla's relatively small market.
Private equity firm 3G Capital, the Brazilian-based backer of the Kraft-Heinz merger announced Wednesday, instills fear in the companies it acquires with its reputation for fierce cost-cutting.
But while the acquirers have already promised to reduce costs by as much as $1.5 billion, the local economic impact may not warrant such anxiety.
Kraft Foods Group stock surged Wednesday after the company announced a merger deal with H.J. Heinz financed in part by Warren Buffett.
Buffett told CNBC that his Berkshire Hathaway company will have $9.5 billion worth of common stock in the newly merged H.J. Heinz-Kraft Foods company. It will be headed by Heinz Chief Executive Bernardo Hees.
The deal to create the third-largest food and beverage company in the North America—announced hours before Buffett's interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box"—was in the works for about four weeks, the billionaire investor said.
"It moved along quite promptly," he said, but stressed he's in it for the long haul.