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Warren Buffett on CNBC: 'Not Clear' Europe Has Will or Ability to Resolve Crisis

Monday, 14 Nov 2011 | 6:18 AM ET
Warren Buffett
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Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett says it's not clear Europe has the will or ability to do "whatever it takes" to resolve its debt crisis.

He thinks we're seeing a partial run on Europe and he's concerned about lack of confidence in the continent.

Appearing live on CNBC's Squawk Box this morning, Buffett says he looks at European sovereign debt every day but has not gotten back into it. He also tells Becky Quick that Berkshire Hathaway does not own stocks in Eurozone banks and hasn't yet seen any opportunities to buy. He would need to understand them better, he says, before investing.

Buffett says Europe is "not going away" and its economy will be stronger in ten years. But he warns that getting from here to there may be difficult.

Buffett has been doing some big buying in the United States. He revealed that Berkshire has bought $10.7 billion worth of IBM common stock this year.

In the United States, Buffett thinks parts of the economy are doing very well, but the housing market still hasn't turned around, despite his earlier prediction that it would by now. He says Berkshire's housing-related companies are in a "depression" with no evidence of improvement coming.

The housing market doesn't need stimulus, says Buffett. It needs the creation of more households than housing units, and that process is underway. "Hormones still kick in, and we'll still form households."

Outside the housing market, Buffett points out that many businesses are generating strong profits.

He would not pull the trigger on another quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, but he's not worried about how the market would react if the Fed does go ahead.

On the race for the White House, Buffett says Mitt Romney would be the strongest GOP candidate to run against President Barack Obama and is most likely to win his party's nomination. Asked which GOP candidate he would support if he couldn't back a Democrat, Buffett says it would be Romney, although "that could be the kiss of death."

While he does not want to see Texas Governor Rick Perry become president, it's not due to Perry's forgetfulness during last week's CNBC debate.

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