Is Warren Buffett Still Bearish on the Economy?  We'll Ask Him

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett will look back at what's changed over the twelve months since Lehman Brother's collapse triggered the darkest days of the financial criris, during an on-camera interview with CNBC's Becky Quick.

Buffett will also be asked for his latest thoughts on the current state of the U.S. economy and where it might be going.

A substantial portion of the taped interview is scheduled to air in CNBC's One Year Later: Road to Recovery at 8p ET Tuesday evening. The remainder will be shown on Squawk Box (6A-9A ET) Wednesday morning.

(Note: The interview was originally scheduled to air Monday evening and Tuesday morning on CNBC, as reported in the previous version of this post.)

We'll be looking for his most recent read on the economy, especially whether he sees any signs of a rebound. As Chairman on Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett receives constantly updated sales data from Berkshire's consumer-oriented companies.

Over the last several months, Buffett has been consistently bearish on the economy's short-term propsects.

Very recently, however, we've had reports consumer sentiment has improved, with many economists saying the recession is coming to an end, although the labor market will remain weak for some time.

If Buffett's view on the economy has also improved, it will be big news.

Over a month ago, on July 24, he told us "business is still flat." In another CNBC interview earlier that month, Buffett said the economy was in a very "tough period" and that Berkshire subsidiary sales had remained "very, very soft" for weeks. Speaking to ABC News, he prescribed another "dose of Viagra" for the economy in the form of a second economic stimulus package from the government.


In a live CNBC interview on June 24, Buffett said the economy was in a "shambles" with no signs of any "green shoots" that he could see. At the beginning of May, he said the economy was "very slow" and getting slower."

Despite all that pessimism, Buffett has remained "100% enormously optimistic" the U.S. economy will eventually recover, becoming stronger than ever. He says he doesn't know exactly when that will happen, but that things will be fine five years from now, at most.

And his negative views on near-term econmomy don't translate into pessimism about stocks.

As early as last October, he was calling on investors to buy equities in anticipation of an inevitable rebound. Even after the Dow had rallied to above 9000 in late July, Buffett predicted stocks will outperform cash over the long term.

He doesn't recommend waiting for clear signs of economic recovery. "The market is very, very likely to turn up before business. But I don't try and time stocks. I try to price stocks."

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