Here's a full recap of everything Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger said at Berkshire’s annual meeting

Yun Li
Sarah Min
Tanaya Macheel
Alex Harring
Hakyung Kim
Christina Cheddar Berk

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett presided over the company's annual meeting. Track all of the day's news and analysis here.

Despite the recent market volatility and worries over the economy, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett on Saturday provided a calm and steady voice as he fielded questions from shareholders.

That's not to say that Buffett doesn't see some turbulence ahead. He said commercial real estate could struggle with higher borrowing rates and banks could face more pressure but noted that deposits were safe. As for the economy, Buffett noted that his businesses will see lower year-over-year earnings as economic activity slows down.

The Oracle of Omaha also said Berkshire Hathaway wouldn't take over Occidental Petroleum.

"There's speculation about us buying control, we're not going to buy control. … We wouldn't know what to do with it," he said.

The legendary investor sounded more optimistic about the prospects of value investing, however.

"In the 58 years we've been running Berkshire, I would say there's been a great increase in the number people doing dumb things, and they do big dumb things," he said, meaning that there will be more opportunities to make money down the road.

Buffett also doesn't expect the U.S. dollar to be dethroned as the world's reserve currency anytime soon.

"We are the reserve currency, I see no option for any other currency to be the reserve currency," he said.

The 99-year-old Charlie Munger, Buffett's right-hand man, also commented on artificial intelligence. He said that, while "going to see a lot more robotics in the world," he remains "skeptical of some of the hype in AI."

Here are some of the highlights:

Sat, May 6 2023 4:45 PM EDT

Berkshire attendees are fans of what they call a 'safe,' 'diversified' stock 

Dairy Queen display at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder's Meeting in Omaha, NE.

As another Berkshire Hathaway question-and-answer session wraps up, it's worth reflecting on why the event has become so iconic. CNBC spoke with attendees exploring exhibits during the halftime break who said they invested in the company because it is a "safe" and "diversified" stock. 

"It's just one of the best companies in the world, honestly, the way it's so diversified, with so many different subsidiaries, and Warren Buffett. All around, this is, probably, arguably the greatest investor of all time," said Phillip Sheppard, a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Georgia, who attended the event with his classmates. 

The university student said he's been interested in the conglomerate since he was a high school sophomore, and, on his father's advice, took advantage of the Covid crash in 2020 to buy shares. His father Alan is not a shareholder, but was also in attendance. 

"I kind of got lucky when I bought in," Sheppard said. 

Dr. Alexandra Cook, a professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University, has been a Berkshire shareholder for five years, and brought three of her students as guests to the event so they could gain an understanding of Berkshire's underlying investments. 

One of her students said the conference has been "very impactful." Isabelle Reinhart, a 22-year-old business student, said she pulled out of the stock about a year ago, but recently started buying shares after discussing the investment with her stock broker. 

"We have been talking about a lot of different options for investment, and I was looking for a safer option. So I think that it's nice that it's so diversified," Reinhart said. "And I've heard a lot about the different industries that the company is involved in, which has really helped in kind of solidifying that it's the right company to be invested in." 

— Sarah Min

Sat, May 6 2023 4:43 PM EDT

Cash is not trash, Buffett says

Buffett is watching currency in circulation, calling it "one of the most interesting figures" to consider and calling out those who previously said "cash is trash" back in 2007 and 2008.

"The Federal Reserve balance sheet has gone from $800 billion to $2.2 trillion and most of that's in $100 bills overwhelmingly. … I would really like to know where all of that is," he said.

"Anyone who thinks cash is trash ought to look at the Federal Reserve balance sheet," he added. "It is just astounding the way $100 bills have spread. … Believe me, cash is not trash."

—Tanaya Macheel

Sat, May 6 2023 4:23 PM EDT

Warren Buffett: I know where Apple is going to be in 5 or 10 years, but not car companies

Sat, May 6 2023 3:56 PM EDT

Elon Musk has achieved success by going for extremes, say Buffett and Munger

Elon Musk has become successful by "taking on the impossible job," Buffett and Munger said, highlighting their differences with the tech exec.

"Elon Musk overestimates himself, but he is very talented," Munger said.

Musk "wouldn't have achieved what he has in life if he hadn't tried his unreasonably extreme objectives," Munger continued. "He likes taking on the impossible job and doing it." Conversely, he said, "Warren and I look for the easy job that we can identify."

Buffet affirmed that he and Munger "don't want to compete with Elon."

"We don't want that much failure," chimed in Munger.

— Hakyung Kim

Sat, May 6 2023 3:48 PM EDT

Energy transition makes sense without even considering global warming, Munger says

Munger said there have been false claims about climate change, but the energy transition makes sense for some key reasons.

"Even if we weren't worried about global warming, it would make sense to shift to renewables to conserve our hydrocarbons," Munger said.

"There's certain things hydrocarbons can do that nothing else can do," he added. "And there's only so much of them there, why be cautious in conserving them?"

Munger also said he isn't sure how bad climate change is going to get.

— Alex Harring

Sat, May 6 2023 3:41 PM EDT

Buffett knocks down speculation Berkshire would take full control of Occidental

Buffett said Saturday that Berkshire Hathaway won't take full control of Occidental Petroleum, the energy stock where it has amassed a stake above 20%.

"There's speculation about us buying control, we're not going to buy control. … We wouldn't know what to do with it," he said.

See Chart...
Occidental 1-year

—Yun Li

Sat, May 6 2023 3:37 PM EDT

Buffett: 'You should write your obituary and then try to figure out how to live up to it'

One reason people flock to Berkshire's annual meeting is to hear Buffett offer up wisdom on living life well.

On Saturday, he did not disappoint.

"You should write your obituary and then try to figure out how to live up to it," he said.

Buffett also stressed the importance of kindness, saying he knows rich people who've died without friends.

When it comes to investing, the most important thing is just to not make any mistakes that completely crush your strategy, he said, adding that one should avoid debt outside of a home mortgage.

"You should never have a night when you're worried about investing, assuming you have any money to invest at all," he said.

Munger recommended looking for "deferred gratification."

— Alex Harring

Sat, May 6 2023 3:24 PM EDT

Warren Buffett on Paramount: It's never good when a company cuts dividend dramatically

Buffett weighed in of Paramount's decision to cut its dividend in the wake of a weak earnings report on Thursday.

—Christina Cheddar Berk

Sat, May 6 2023 3:19 PM EDT

It's a joke to think of 'tokens' as the world's reserve currency, Buffett says

People may be losing faith in the dollar, but that doesn't make it bitcoin's moment to shine, Buffett said.

"Forget about all the toys – it's a joke to think of any tokens, that's madness," when it comes to the reserve currency of the world, he said. "But it's also madness to just keep printing money."

Buffett was responding to a question about the current dedollarization trend and warned about the extent to which the U.S. has been printing money.

"It's easy for America to do a lot, but if we do too much it's very hard to see how you recover once you've let the genie out of the bottle," he said. "People lose faith in the currency and they behave in an entirely different manner than they do when they feel … they're going to have something with roughly equal purchasing power. It changes the economy."

Munger criticized it more sharply, saying "at some point printing money to buy boats will become counterproductive."

Still, Buffett stood by the dollar: "We are the reserve currency, I see no option for any other currency to be the reserve currency," he said.

Bitcoin gained popularity among investors in 2021 because of its potential to act as an inflation hedge, after the U.S. printed trillions of dollars in Covid-19 stimulus. Many have let go of that narrative after bitcoin dropped more than 60% in 2022 amid persistently high inflation.

— Tanaya Macheel

Sat, May 6 2023 3:09 PM EDT

The banking system 'shouldn't' get stalled but 'could,' though depositors needn't worry, Buffett says

Buffett expects issues in the banking sector could continue, but he said depositors shouldn't to worry about their money.

"We keep our money in cash and treasuries both at Berkshire," Buffett said to the exhibit hall. "We want to be there if the banking system temporarily even gets stalled in some way. It shouldn't. I don't think it will, but I think it could."

The billionaire investor had harsh words for First Republic Bank, which was taken over by JPMorgan Chase on Monday after regulators seized it. It was the biggest bank failure in the U.S. since 2008, and the third major one this year after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

Buffett said there should be "punishment" for the directors and executives responsible for any mismanagement at the banks. However, he noted that depositors could rest assured that their money is secure, given the government backstop.

"The message has been very poor," he said. "You shouldn't have so many people that misunderstand the fact ... that the FDIC and the US government have no interest in having a bank fail and having deposits actually lost by people."

— Sarah Min

Sat, May 6 2023 3:05 PM EDT

Buffett says there's 'no option' for reserve currency besides U.S. dollar

Buffett said it's unlikely that the U.S. dollar is dethroned as the reserve currency, even amid concerns about the debt ceiling.

"We are the reserve currency," he said. "I see no option for any other currency to be the reserve currency."

Buffett said nobody understands the debt situation like Jerome Powell, but he's not in charge of fiscal policy. And Buffett said people act differently when they distrust the currency.

"Nobody knows how far you can go with a paper currency before it gets out of control, and particularly if you're the world's reserve currency," Buffett said. "You don't want to try and pick out the point where it does become a problem because then it's all over."

Buffett said it's difficult to prepare for changes in the debt ceiling and its impact on the dollar since it's a political decision.

Munger likened the U.S. to Japan in how it handled the national debt. However, he said, Japan has a different culture and they are not the reserve currency.

"I really admire Japan ... but I don't think we should try to imitate it," he said. Munger pointed to its ability to buy back most of its national debt and common stocks, while noting the "economic stasis."

"In Japan, everybody's supposed to suck it up and cope," Munger added. "In America, we complain."

— Alex Harring

Sat, May 6 2023 2:58 PM EDT

Buffett says he'll stick with Bank of America

Shareholders watch Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger from the overflow room during the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting on Saturday, May 6, 2023, in Omaha, Neb.

Buffett says he's keeping his Bank of America holdings but that he doesn't know what's in store.

"We do remain with one bank holding ... , but we originated that deal, with Bank of America. I like Bank of America, I liked the management and I proposed the deal for them. So I stick with it," said Buffett.

He said that the recent crises in the banking sector have reaffirmed his belief that the American public and lawmakers fail to understand the banking sector.

"But do I know how to project out what's going to happen from here? The answer is I don't, because I've seen so many things in the last few months, which really weren't that unexpected to me to see. But which reconfirmed my belief that the American public doesn't understand our banking system."

— Hakyung Kim

Sat, May 6 2023 2:39 PM EDT

Buffett says he doesn't know where the shareholders of banks are heading

Sat, May 6 2023 2:37 PM EDT

Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger tackle question on banking crisis as afternoon session kicks off

As the afternoon session began, Buffett and Munger faced a question about the recent banking crisis. Listen to hear what they had to say.

—Christina Cheddar Berk

Sat, May 6 2023 1:42 PM EDT

A tour around the showroom floor at Berkshire's Annual Meeting

The Berkshire Hathaway meeting has adjourned for lunch. During the break, many in attendance have a chance to tour the showroom floor and take in the displays.

Here are few scenes the venue:

Warren Buffett tours the grounds at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting in Omaha Nebraska. 
Geico display at the 2023 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder's Meeting in Omaha, NE. 
Duracell display at the 2023 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder's Meeting in Omaha, NE. 
Dairy Queen display at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder's Meeting in Omaha, NE.
display at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder's Meeting in Omaha, NE.
See's Candies on display at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder's Meeting in Omaha, NE.
Netjets display at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder's Meeting in Omaha, NE.
Brooks display at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder's Meeting in Omaha, NE.
Oriental Trading display at the 2023 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder's Meeting in Omaha, NE.

-David A. Gogan & Yun Li | CNBC

Sat, May 6 2023 1:08 PM EDT

Berkshire meeting breaks for lunch, with Buffett saying he's still determined to answer 60 questions

Attendees arrive at the auditorium of the CHI Health Center during the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, US, on Saturday, May 6, 2023. 

The Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting broke for a lunch recess at 1 p.m. ET.

Buffett said he's taken 25 questions from shareholders so far and that he's still keen to answer at least 60 in total by the end of the day.

— Tanaya Macheel

Sat, May 6 2023 1:03 PM EDT

Buffett says Apple is different — it is 'a better business than any we own'

Buffett clarified that Apple is not 35% of Berkshire's portfolio like a questioner suggested because that figure does not account for the non-publicly traded businesses owned by the conglomerate. But Buffett did speak glowingly about Apple, of which Berkshire owns nearly 6%.

"Our criteria for Apple was different than the other businesses we own —It just happens to be better business than any we own," Buffett said.

He added that the iPhone's status among consumers makes it an "extraordinary product," making him very happy to own a stake in the stock.

See Chart...
Apple shares are up 33% since the start of the year.

"Apple has a position with consumers where they're paying 1,500 bucks or whatever it may be for a phone. And the same people pay $35,000 for having a second car, and [if] they had to give up a second car or give up their iPhone, they give up their second car. I mean, it's an extraordinary product. We don't have anything like that that we owned 100% of, but we're very, very happy to have 5.6 or whatever-it-may-be percent, and we're delighted every 10th of a percent that goes up."

The Oracle of Omaha added that he regrets having sold some shares a few years ago.

"I made a mistake a couple of years ago and I sold some shares. I had certain reasons why gains were useful that year from a tax standpoint, but having heard me say that, it was a dumb decision."

"We want to own good businesses and we also want to have plenty of liquidity. And beyond that, the sky's the limit," Buffett said.

— Hakyung Kim

Sat, May 6 2023 12:58 PM EDT

Sometimes portfolio diversification is 'deworsification,' Munger says

Diversification has become a standard investing rule to help reduce risk and create a more resilient portfolio, but there is such a thing as overdoing it that investing educators don't give enough attention to, Munger said.

"One of the inane things that's taught in modern university education is that a vast diversification is absolutely mandatory in investing in common stocks," he said. "That is an insane idea. It's not that easy to have a vast plethora of good opportunities that are easily identified. And if you've only got three, I'd rather be in my best ideas instead of my worst."

Some people can't tell their best ideas from their worst, he continued, and oftentimes make the mistake of thinking what they deem a good investment is better than it might actually be.

"We make fewer mistakes like that than other people and that is a blessing to us," he said.

"We're not so smart, but we kind of know where the edge of our smartness is," he added. "That is a very important part of practical intelligence. ... If you know the edge of your own ability pretty well, you should ignore most of the notions of our experts about what I call 'deworsification' of portfolios."

— Tanaya Macheel

Sat, May 6 2023 12:50 PM EDT

Warren Buffett says 'we're not done' with Japan

Buffett said he will continue to search for opportunities in Japan, saying he is "pleasantly surprised" by each of the five major Japanese trading firms that he raised his stakes in last month.

The Oracle of Omaha first acquired stakes in these firms in August 2020 for his 90th birthday. The companies, which behave similarly to conglomerates, are Mitsubishi Corp.MitsuiItochu Corp.Marubeni and Sumitomo.

In April, the Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO revealed he had increased his stakes in each of the companies to 7.4%. He even took a trip to Japan to show support for the businesses.

"We'll just keep looking for more opportunities," Buffett said to his shareholders.

"Berkshire is the largest borrower, corporate borrower, outside of Japan, that exists. We didn't set out to be that. But it's turned out that way, and we're not done in terms of what may come along there. And we have some direct operations there, as I mentioned. And we have some really wonderful partners working for us."

— Sarah Min

Sat, May 6 2023 12:44 PM EDT

The conflict between the U.S. and China is 'stupid, stupid, stupid,' Munger says

The tension between the U.S. and China is unnecessarily harmful to both countries, according to Buffett and Munger.

The conflict is "stupid, stupid, stupid," the 99-year-old Munger said, adding that each side should respond to stupidity with kindness. He believes that the U.S. should get along with China and have a lot of free trade with the developing nation.

"We are going to be competitive but should judge how far to push without the other side reacting," Buffett said.

— Yun Li

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