Investing Warren Buffett Watch

  Wednesday, 14 Jul 2010 | 6:40 PM ET

Warren Buffett to CNBC: 'Never Heard' of German Hyperinflation Book Until Report He's 'Recommending' It

Posted ByAlex Crippen

Warren Buffett tells CNBC today that he'd "never heard" of an obscure 35-year-old book on German hyperinflation in the 1920s until a reporter called a few days ago to ask about a report he's recommending it to friends.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 14 Jul 2010 | 1:28 PM ET

Warren Buffett Gets New Tie from President Obama at White House Meeting

Posted ByAlex Crippen

Warren Buffett sat down with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office at the White House today (Wednesday).

According to a White House official, the two men met "to discuss the economy and our ongoing efforts to work with the private sector to stimulate growth and create jobs."

CNBC's John Harwood also reports that Obama noticed Buffett's tie was frayed, prompting the president to give Buffett a new, gift-wrapped, red tie.

In this photograph of the session, taken and released by the White House, Buffett is wearing a red tie. Harwood, however, tells me he believes the new tie stayed in its gift box, so we're presumably looking at the disreputable neckware Buffett was wearing when he arrived for the meeting.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 13 Jul 2010 | 7:26 PM ET

Is Berkshire Still a Buy?

Posted ByTom Brennan

It doesn’t matter how much Cramer likes a company, even if that company is led by arguably the world’s greatest investor, when a stock has run well over 10% he has to consider taking profits.

That was the question he was asking about Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway during Tuesday’s Mad Money, as BRKb has jumped to almost $80 from $70 in just the past six weeks. Both the charts seem to say that this stock is headed higher, but they disagree on the right entry point. And that, of course, can make or break an investment.

So who’s right? Technical analysts like Tim Collins, who shared his insights for this week’s Off the Charts segment, or “fundamentalists” like Cramer? Watch the video for his full report to find out.

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

Questions, comments, suggestions for the Mad Money website? madcap@cnbc.com

»Read more
  Monday, 12 Jul 2010 | 6:54 PM ET

Fired Exec Wants Warren Buffett Questioned Under Oath in Wrongful Dismissal Suit

Posted ByAlex Crippen

A former executive of Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Forest River, who claims he "lost his job and had his reputation destroyed" because he followed Berkshire's Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, wants Warren Buffett to be questioned under oath in the case.

»Read more
  Thursday, 8 Jul 2010 | 2:35 PM ET

Analyst Downgrades Berkshire Hathaway to Rare 'Sell' Recommendation

Posted ByAlex Crippen
Warren Buffett
Getty Images
Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has been downgraded to 'sell' by Stifel Nicolaus analyst Meyer Shields and his team.

Shields previously had a 'hold' recommendation on the stock.

In a note for clients, Shields says a "blah-shaped" economic recovery has not been priced into Berkshire's stock price. "Our weak macroeconomic outlook implies poor 2H10 earnings" for the company's operating companies."

There's also a "doubly whammy" for Berkshire. Shields says a weaker economy will hurt Berkshire's holdings and derivatives contracts. "Investors' focus on Berkshire's book value for valuation imply that its shares could outpace broader market's declines."

Shields discussed his call in a live appearance on CNBC's Fast Money Halftime Report today.

»Read more
  Thursday, 8 Jul 2010 | 11:59 AM ET

Warren Buffett: Hayward Should Not Continue As BP's CEO

Posted ByAlex Crippen
Tony Hayward and Warren Buffett
Getty Images
Tony Hayward and Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett says Tony Hayward should not continue as BP's CEO, so that the American people can "feel better" about the company's response to its massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a videtaped interview with Willow Bay for the Huffington Post and Yahoo News , Buffett says it is not in the interest of either BP or the nation for Hayward to keep his job.

Current price:

Buffett also says "in terms of public opinion," President Obama hasn't handled the BP spill "perfectly." But he notes that even if Mr. Obama had "raged and stormed and stomped his feet and held his breath on the first day," that show of temper would not have reduced the amount of oil flowing into the gulf.

Here's the clip:

BAY: I want to get your take on BP. How do you think the president has handled this?

BUFFETT: Well, I think holding the president responsible for a blow-out at a well and what can be done - I don't know - I have no idea that I could give him that would helpful in stopping the flow of oil down there. Now, you I think you engage the best people you can and you throw every resource you can at it. But obviously, in terms of public opinion, he didn't handle it perfectly. But I think if he'd raged and stormed and stomped his feet and held his breath on the first day after the blow-out, I think the same amount of oil would probably be flowing now. (Laughs.)

BAY: If BP were one of your companies, and the BP CEO was one of your team of CEOs, what would you be saying to them right now? Would he still be working for you?

BUFFETT: He probably wouldn't. I'm not sure what fault he has to play in it, but when you have something with that impact on society, it's like the captain of the ship. They're responsible even though some second lieutenant may have made all the mistakes. But, it's not in BP's interest to actually continue with him as CEO. And I don't know him personally. He may be the most wonderful guy in the world, but it is not in their interest, and not in our country's interest, to have him continue. You need -- The American public has to feel better about the efforts that are being made in the Gulf and they're not going to feel better with the present CEO.

During the interview at Allen and Company's Sun Valley conference , Buffett disagreed with Paul Krugman's recent suggestion that the country is heading for a "third depression."

In other clips posted by the HuffPost and Yahoo, Buffett reveals the best advice he's ever received and talks about what he looks at when surfing the Internet.

»Read more
  Friday, 2 Jul 2010 | 2:47 PM ET

Greenberg: This Ain't Your Father's Berkshire Hathaway

Earlier this week, Goldman Sachs analyst Christopher Neczypor initiated coverage on Berkshire Hathaway with a strong buy and a 12-month target of $152,000 on Berkshire A shares. That's about the highest it has ever been.

»Read more
  Friday, 2 Jul 2010 | 11:20 AM ET

Buffett's Berkshire Off the Hook for Derivatives Collateral: Lawmakers

Posted ByAlex Crippen

The US will see more frequent recessions in this decade, Lakshman Acuthan, managing director of Economic Cycle Research Institute, told CNBC on Friday.

»Read more
  Thursday, 1 Jul 2010 | 6:01 PM ET

Warren Buffett's $1.6 Billion Stock Donation to Gates Foundation Lifts 5-Year Total to $8 Billion

Posted ByAlex Crippen
Bill Gates, left, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett pose for a picture after a press conference Monday, June 26, 2006 in New York.  Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, recently announced his intention of giving 10 million shares of his company to charitable organizations, the majority going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig
Bill Gates, left, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett pose for a picture after a press conference Monday, June 26, 2006 in New York. Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, recently announced his intention of giving 10 million shares of his company to charitable organizations, the majority going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Warren Buffett's annual gift of Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is worth about $1.6 billion dollars this time around.

That's an increase of 28 percent from the value of last year's gift , even though Buffett is donating roughly one million fewer shares. Berkshire B shares are up almost 35 percent over the 12-months since Buffett's previous donation.

In a 2006 letter to Microsoft's Chairman and his wife, Buffett outlined a long-term schedule that has him donating five percent fewer shares each July, when compared to the previous year.

But Buffett told them "you can reasonably expect the value of Berkshire shares to increase, in an irregular manner, by an amount that more than compensates for the decline in the number of shares that will be distributed."

So far, that's turned out to be true for every year except 2009.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 30 Jun 2010 | 7:33 PM ET

New FinReg Rules May Require Buffett's Berkshire to Post $8 Billion Collateral

Posted ByAlex Crippen
Warren Buffett
Getty Images
Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway may need $6 to $8 billion in collateral for its multi-billion dollar collateral contracts, if the financial regulation bill passes Congress in its current form.

That's the estimate of Barclays Capital analyst Jay Gelb in a note to clients today, although we won't know for sure until the dust settles.

Dow Jones quotes Gelb as saying the proposed FinReg law now being debated on Capitol Hill is a "negative development for Berkshire Hathaway."

Buffett had argued that Berkshire, or any other company, shouldn't be forced to put up collateral against existing contracts because it would have been able to charge more for those contracts if collateral had been included when they were written. "If the restaurant only gets paid for an 8-ounce steak, they don't want to give you the 12-ounce one," he told the Omaha World-Herald in late April.

He had no objection to Congress requiring collateral for future derivatives deals.

But Barron's says Gelb is telling clients, "As a financial entity, we believe Berkshire Hathaway will be classified as a major participant and not be grandfathered for avoiding additional collateral requirements."

With a notional value of $62 billion, Berkshire's derivatives could require "perhaps $6-8 billion of additional collateral, based on 10% of the notional or 100% of the options proceeds as a rough starting point," says Gelb.

David Sokol, Chairman of Berkshire subsidiary MidAmerican Energy, told CNBC's Becky Quick on April 30 that the "worst case" would involve Berkshire posting between $6 and $10 billion in collateral, "which we have and which is a non-issue."

Sokol said then that Berkshire's concern was for "the financial integrity of our economy" because a retroactive collateral requirement would violate the concept of "sanctity of contract."

Buffett has said if Berkshire is required to post additional collateral, it plans to use its investment portfolio rather than cash.

Most of the derivative contracts sold by Berkshire involve equity-index puts, essentially insurance policies that protect the buyer from a long-term drop in stock market prices.

»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.