Warren Buffett Watch


  Thursday, 15 May 2014 | 6:25 PM ET

Warren Buffett raises his bet on Wal-Mart

Posted By: Alex Crippen
Warren Buffett
Chris Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett added to Berkshire Hathaway's bet on Wal-Mart, increasing its stake in the retailer by 17 percent to 58.05 million shares during the first quarter.

The additional 8.57 million shares are worth about $658 million at the stock's closing price Thursday of $76.83.

Wal-Mart shares fell 2.4 percent in Thursday's trading after the company reported anemic sales growth and forecast disappointing earnings. It blamed bad winter weather.

With a total value of $4.46 billion, the Wal-Mart stake is probably being controlled by Buffett himself.

It is now Berkshire's fifth largest U.S. stock stake.

Read More Berkshire Hathaway's 15 biggest stock holdings

Buffett also added slightly to his company's fourth biggest holding. Berkshire's stake in IBM edged higher by 233,100 shares to 68.36 million shares.

»Read more
  Monday, 5 May 2014 | 2:17 PM ET

CNBC Transcript: Buffett, Munger and Gates

Posted By: Alex Crippen

This is an unofficial transcript of Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and Bill Gates appearing live with Becky Quick on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Monday, May 5, 2014.

A PDF version of this transcript may be downloaded by clicking here.

BECKY QUICK, CNBC: We are live this morning from the Nebraska Furniture Mart, which is one of many Berkshire businesses. Warren, this business in particular, really sees a huge surge of business on the shareholders weekend. What kind of numbers have come through here and how many shareholders do you think were actually here this weekend?

WARREN BUFFETT, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY CHAIRMAN & CEO: We'll do over $40 million in one week here at the Furniture Mart. That's a lot of business. Most furniture stores don't do that in a year, and it's our biggest week of the year. In fact, it's a normal month. We do about $450 million a year at this store. So it's a normal month, and we do it all in a week. And the stockholders get more excited every year. I mean, I run into people in the elevator a month or two ahead of time. They say thank you for holding the meeting, patting me on the back. They want to come on to the Furniture Mart.

BECKY: So you told us before you expected maybe 38,000 people this year. What do you think the numbers were?

BUFFETT: Not any less than that. This was the biggest meeting by quite a margin because we filled not only the main auditorium, but we filled all three overflow rooms and spilled over to the Hilton, and there were people in the exhibition hall. We can never get a perfect count, but I'm sure we beat anything in the past by at least 3,000. And I wouldn't be surprised if we beat it by 5,000.

BECKY: So somewhere between 38 and 40,000 is what you're guessing?


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  Monday, 5 May 2014 | 6:12 AM ET

Buffett: Congress likely to tackle tax-dodging mergers

Posted By: Alex Crippen

Warren Buffett said "you are getting more mergers that are tax driven" and Congress is "likely to address" the issue.

In response to a question about Pfizer's bid to buy the foreign drug firm AstraZeneca, partially to reduce its U.S. tax bill by moving overseas, Buffett said the trend "will gather momentum and my guess is that when you get to companies of this size, of this prominence, and with the speedup of momentum, my guess is that Congress, one way or another, addresses this. But that could go either direction in how they address it."

Buffett appeared live on CNBC from Omaha with Becky Quick on CNBC's "Squawk Box" following this weekend's Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting.

Read More CNBC Transcript: Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and Bill Gates

Congress might, he said, just focus on the narrow section of the tax code that allows a company that merges to move its tax domicile, or "that forces them to rethink all corporate taxes, we'll find out. But I do think it will get attention."

"This whole thing on the foreign situation, I think, will cause one hell of a fight in Corporate America."

Read More US doesn't have a rational tax policy: Jack Welch

Buffett said he'd like to see all companies pay the same tax rate, but those that would see their taxes go up would "squeal" more than the companies that would get a tax reduction.

»Read more
  Monday, 5 May 2014 | 9:03 AM ET

Gates, Munger & Buffett slam high-speed trading

Posted By: Alex Crippen

Warren Buffett, his longtime business partner Charlie Munger, and Bill Gates are no fans of high-frequency trading.

In a live appearance featuring the three men on CNBC Monday morning, Munger said, "It's the functional equivalent of letting rats into a granary" and "does the rest of the civilization no good at all."

Read MoreCNBC Transcript: Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and Bill Gates

Gates, a Berkshire Hathaway board member and chairman of Microsoft, agreed. "It doesn't seem like it's much value-added because when you really need the liquidity it's not guaranteed to be there... It seems like a strange sort of profit."

»Read more
  Monday, 5 May 2014 | 8:22 AM ET

Buffett, Munger call themselves a couple of...

Warren Buffett and his right-hand man Charlie Munger brought their brand of slap-stick comedy to CNBC Monday, with each finishing the other's sentences and laughing at their own jokes.

Asked about what drew them together, Munger said that they are both "natural wiseasses." Buffett will be probably be remembered as a teacher, Munger predicted—saying he'd like to remembered that way too, but more likely he's be remembered as a "wiseass."

Read MoreCNBC Transcript: Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and Bill Gates

Buffett said of their decades-long partnership: "We're like an old married couple." They talk only once "every two weeks," Buffett said—adding that he usually calls Munger when he "deep down" knows he's wrong.

Read MoreBuffett, Gates & Munger slam high-speed trading

»Read more
  Monday, 5 May 2014 | 10:13 AM ET

Gates: New CEO pushes Microsoft to move faster

With a new CEO in place, Microsoft founder Bill Gates told CNBC on Monday he's excited about taking a more hands-on approach again at the software giant in "re-examining all its strategies."

Gates stood down as chairman in February, but remained a board member. He's now spending about a third of his time as a technology adviser to new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who recently took over for the retiring Steve Ballmer.

"Satya is off to an amazing start," Gates said in a "Squawk Box" interview, following the weekend annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway—of which he's a director. "[Nadella] drawing on a broad set of people in the company to get them rethink how can Microsoft move a bit faster."

Read MoreCNBC Transcript: Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and Bill Gates

»Read more
  Saturday, 3 May 2014 | 6:55 PM ET

Buffett postgame: It's 'human' for CEOs to overreach

Posted By: Alex Crippen

Warren Buffett said he's not surprised that some CEOs are overreaching.

Asked about his comment during Saturday's Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting that some chief executives are "operating outside of their circles of competencies," Buffett said, "It's very human when you're at the top of an organization to start thinking you have more powers than you do. And I'm probably guilty of that myself."

He wouldn't, however, name any other names.

»Read more
  Saturday, 3 May 2014 | 3:39 PM ET

Buffett defends Coke vote, wants secret CEO salaries

Posted By: Alex Crippen
Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway board member Bill Gates participate in a fan's selfie at the company's annual meeting on May 3, 2014.
Brad Quick | CNBC
Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway board member Bill Gates participate in a fan's selfie at the company's annual meeting on May 3, 2014.

Warren Buffett told shareholders that Berkshire abstained in a vote over Coca-Cola's controversial executive pay plan because he didn't "want to go to war" with the company but did want to express his unhappiness with a plan he called "excessive."

Speaking before roughly 38,000 shareholders at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting in Omaha, Buffett said abstaining was the "most effective way" for him to make a "clear statement" opposing the plan. "I don't think going to war is a very good idea in most cases."

Buffett said there's a social dimension to being on a board. Even "independent" directors aren't really all that independent because they often want to keep a prestigious job that pays well and has relatively few duties.

When choosing board members, "They do not look for Dobermans. They look for Cocker Spaniels and then they make sure their tails are wagging."

»Read more
  Friday, 2 May 2014 | 5:23 PM ET

Berkshire earnings drop 6.6%, miss estimates

Posted By: Alex Crippen

Operating earnings for Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway fell 6.6 percent to $3.533 billion in the first quarter. That's down from $3.782 billion a year ago.

Per-share operating earnings of $2,149 fell short of the consensus estimate of $2,172 by the relatively few analysts who follow the company.

Read MoreAnalyst's unanswered Buffett questions

A drop for Berkshire's insurance operations was the biggest negative for the quarter. Profits there fell to $461 million from $901 million in the year-ago period.

Berkshire's BNSF railroad, along with its utilities and energy companies, contributed $1.176 billion to the earnings total.

»Read more
  Friday, 2 May 2014 | 4:09 PM ET

'Excluded' analyst's unanswered Buffett questions

Posted By: Alex Crippen

The analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods who covers Berkshire Hathaway wasn't invited to join the panel asking questions during the marathon Q&A session that anchors the company's annual shareholders meeting in Omaha.

Meyer Shields is suggesting his "exclusion" may be related to his "occasionally critical analysis."

»Read more

About Buffett Watch

  • Warren Buffett is arguably America’s most-admired and most-followed investor. Buffett is the largest shareholder and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and one of the world’s most famous and most generous philanthropists. Legions of investors - from all walks of life - follow Buffett's homespun investment philosophy: invest in what you know, invest in value. Here on CNBC.com's Warren Buffett Watch, we’ll keep you up to date on what the “Oracle of Omaha” is doing by following Buffett's trades, words and deeds.


  • Senior Coordinating Producer

  • Warren Buffett is the chairman, CEO and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway