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Warren Buffett Watch

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  Friday, 2 May 2014 | 10:56 AM ET

Housing recovery slower than I thought: Buffett

Warren Buffett told CNBC he's surprised that housing is not that strong yet.

"The pickup in housing has been slower than I would have anticipated," the Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO said in the interview that aired Friday. "It's [also] true in the secondary market for houses. The prices have recovered some."

In February 2012, Buffett told "Squawk Box" he thought single-family homes were a very attractive investment. If held for a long period and purchased at low rates, he said, houses can be a better investment than even stocks.

Fast forward to spring 2014, Buffett said that housing is better than it was a couple of years ago, "but if you look at transactions and pending transactions in March, it's not booming."

As his faithful followers flock to Omaha, Nebraska, for Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholders meeting on Saturday, Buffett also addressed a wide range of other topics, including jobs, the economy, and how Coca-Cola is taking a second look at its controversial equity compensation plan for executives.

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  Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014 | 9:14 PM ET

Buffett abstention has Coke rethinking plan: WSJ

Posted By: Alex Crippen

It appears Warren Buffett's silence is being heard loud and clear at Coca-Cola.

Responding to Buffett's decision to abstain in a closely-watched shareholders vote, Coke will probably revise its controversial executive pay plan before it goes into effect, reports The Wall Street Journal.

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  Tuesday, 29 Apr 2014 | 9:39 AM ET

Buffett: This is huge for mom & pop investors

The biggest change over the past 25 years in terms of investing is that it's less expensive for the little guy, billionaire Warren Buffett told CNBC on Tuesday.

Buyers of stocks incur little in the way of trading costs compared to other investments like real estate, he said on "Squawk Box" after being named No. 6 on the CNBC 25 list of the most influential people in business over the past quarter century.

"Commissions are a lot lower than they were 25 years ago. Spreads between the bid and ask are less."

But on the other side, the commissions that professional money managers charge clients has gone up. "If you look at the fee extracted on Wall Street on balance, they've gotten quite substantial compared to 25 years ago," he said.

The Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO also said investors who put money into the S&P 500 Index 25 years ago have done very well, and will do so for the next 25 years—provided they don't sell.

Buffett is well-known for his buy-and-hold discipline. For example, he's held shares in the Washington Post for 41 years and shares in Coca-Cola for 26 years.

More on CNBC 25:
US doesn't have a rational tax policy: Welch, No. 12
The last 25 years: What's changed, who mattered...
How we chose the names
The List

No. 1 and No. 2 on the CNBC 25 list went to Apple's Steve Jobs and Microsoft's Bill Gates, respectively. "They belong there," Buffett agreed.

But the Oracle of Omaha saw omissions on the list in former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and his successor at Treasury, Tim Geithner.

"In 2008, our [financial] system was saved by a few people," he said. "We would be living in a much different country today had it not been for Hank and [Ben] Bernanke and I would say Tim Geithner, too."

Former Fed Chairman Bernanke did make the list as No. 3, along with his predecessor at the Fed, Alan Greenspan. The two men steered the central bank for all but a few months of the past 25 years.

Last week, Buffett told CNBC the U.S. stock market doesn't seem "too frothy," as some market watchers have suggested.

Berkshire's annual shareholders meeting will be held Saturday in Omaha, Neb., where tens of thousands of people show up each year to soak in Buffett's investment wisdom.

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  Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 | 3:12 PM ET

Warren Buffett: Stocks aren't 'too frothy' now

Posted By: Alex Crippen

Warren Buffett rejected the suggestion the U.S. stock market is "too frothy" right now as the major indexes re-approach their all-time highs.

"I think we're in a range, and it's a big zone always, of reasonableness. But stocks ought to be higher every 10 years.There's a plow back of earnings that goes back year after year. Stocks will become worth more decade after decade, not in any precise manner, not in an even manner or anything of the sort. But 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, stocks will be worth more than they are today."

Asked if he agreed with investor David Einhorn's warning that "we are witnessing our second tech bubble in 15 years," Buffett said he doesn't always understand tech valuations, but it's not like the period before 2001 when "you could almost sell anything and capitalize eyeballs and all of that. I don't think it's reached that point and certainly I don't think the general market level is going to bubble up."

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  Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 | 7:07 PM ET

Buffett: Saying no to pay plans is like 'belching'

Posted By: Alex Crippen

Warren Buffett said in his 55 years as a director he has never heard anyone say in a board meeting they were against a pay plan put forward by a company's compensation committee.

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  Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 | 7:36 PM ET

CNBC transcript: Warren Buffett on Coke pay plan

Posted By: Alex Crippen

Warren Buffett was interviewed live on CNBC's "Closing Bell" Wednesday.

Among the topics covered:

  • Why stocks aren't "too frothy" as they re-approach all-time highs
  • His decision to abstain in a vote on Coca-Cola's controversial equity compensation plan, even though he thought it was "excessive"
  • His support for IBM, even after a disappointing earnings report
  • How CEOs are increasingly scared of activist investors
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  Wednesday, 9 Apr 2014 | 12:52 PM ET

Cramer defends Buffett: 'His luck's about to change'

Posted By: Alex Crippen

Jim Cramer is coming to Warren Buffett's defense.

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  Monday, 7 Apr 2014 | 9:53 AM ET

Is Warren Buffett losing his touch?

Posted By: Jeff Sommer
Warren Buffett
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is probably the most famous investor of his generation, and for good reason: His track record over the long term is a thing of beauty.

He has beaten the market by a wide margin over 49 years, a record so impressive that it's used in finance classes as a textbook example of "alpha."

Alpha is an elusive quality. Very simply put, it is the ability to beat an index fund without adding risk to a portfolio. Investment managers are always seeking it. If it exists, Warren Buffett surely has had it.

More from The New York Times:
Young, Rich and Ruling Radio, Country Walks a Broader Line
Vox Takes Melding of Journalism and Technology to a New Level
Ezekiel Emanuel Further Explains His Prediction That Employers Will Drop Health Insurance

A new statistical analysis of Mr. Buffett's long-term record at Berkshire Hathaway has just been done, and it's come up with some fascinating insights about his abilities, past and present, and about the chances that the rest of us have for beating the market. Using a series of statistical measures, the study suggests that Mr. Buffett has indeed been blessed with an impressively big dose of alpha over a very long career.

But it also reveals something that isn't impressive at all: For four of the last five years, Mr. Buffett has been doing worse than the typical, no-frills Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fund — so much worse that it's unlikely to be a matter of a string of bad luck. Mr. Buffett has begun to behave like an investor with no alpha at all.

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  Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 | 6:20 PM ET

Warren Buffett says you should tweet about these

Posted By: Alex Crippen

Warren Buffett, despite what it says in our attempt at irony in the headline, is no expert on social media.

In fact, he famously doesn't have a computer in his office and does not carry a smartphone. (He does use a computer at home to play online bridge with his friend Bill Gates and others.)

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  Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 | 7:40 AM ET

Learning to give away money the Buffett way

Posted By: Alex Crippen

For the second consecutive year, Warren Buffett's sister, Doris, is offering a free online course on getting good value for the money you give away to charities.

Her Learning By Giving Foundation and Northwestern University are teaming up to present "Giving With Purpose: How to get the most out of your charitable giving" on EdX's MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platform. EdX is a nonprofit initiative created by Harvard and MIT.

The class begins on Wednesday and lasts seven weeks. Registration is open to anyone over age 13. Students can expect to spend two to four hours a week if they participate in all the course activities.

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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