Warren Buffett is changing the way audience questioners are chosen at Berkshire's annual meeting after Fidelity employees enjoyed "an unusually high hit rate" at this year's gathering in Omaha.
He tells the Wall Street Journal, "there's no question they figured out how to game the system," and "it's not in the spirit of the meeting."
Next May, Berkshire will "take steps to make sure that the questions from the audience are really by chance."
With the year drawing to a close investors are starting to think about how to allocate capital in 2012.
And perhaps no other investment generates more fear than a long position in banks. You know the reasons to avoid banks, new regulations, increased capital requirements and uncertainty in Europe.
But if you’re a value investor, top hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci says be like Warren Buffett and be greedy while others are fearful.
Specifically, he thinks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan belong in every portfolio as value trades.
First, he doesn’t think they have a lot farther to fall. “A whole lot of bad news is already factored into these stocks,” he says.
But second and perhaps more important Scaramucci thinks the Street is forgetting something. “An inkling of good news could send these stocks much higher.” And he sees plenty of catalysts including the potential of “improved write-downs, increased loan activity, new buy backs and even dividend increases.”
Trader Frank Zorrilla doesn’t buy the thesis. “Visa and Mastercard are the only way I’d play in this space,” he tells us. “They’re both near 52-week highs – in this space stay with what’s working.”
“That momentum trading,” counters Scaramucci. “I’m a value guy.”
As we seek your input on the 2011 winners and losers candidates, you’ll note that we have few repeats from last year's bunch and only one who also made our inaugural list in 2009 . That’s Fed Chairman BenBernanke, who continues to loom over the economy.
GOP Rep.John Boehner (now House Speaker), President Barack Obama, and the American taxpayer are back from 2010. Carol Bartz is back from 2009 — she lasted slightly longer at Yahoo than we expected.
Boehner is back because he’s played a leading role in the debate over the shape of government. He's been involved in battles over the deficit with the Democrats and Obama, whom we also include for that reason.
Organizations (Occupy Wall Street, NBA/NFL) made our list, as has a celebrity (Justin Bieber).
Some of these people and companies are also the stuff of CNBC's predictions for the year ahead.
As in past years, the difference between a winner and a loser can be in the eye of the beholder — or voter. It's a fine line.
You have until December 21 to vote on the candidates for 2011. We’ll bring you the results the next day. So click ahead to see all the candidates and to vote on them.
He's shown as a hands-on Nebraska farmer who likes to harvest his own crops.
CBS Correspondent Leslie Stahl also shows Howard as a philathropist. His foundation, fueled by Berkshire Hathaway stock, spends $50 million per year to fight hunger around the world.
The WSJ's Deal Journal blog notes that in his CBS interview Howard disagrees with the Gates Foundation's focus on high-tech farming techniques. Still, says Howard, Bill Gates "is the smartest guy in the world, next to my dad."
In the segment, Stahl talks a lot about how Howard has been endorsed by his father to be Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway after Warren dies. That's generated some headlines, but it's not news. Warren has been saying for years now that he wants Howard to be the next Berkshire Chairman to guard its culture. The key question, still not answered, is who will be Berkshire's next CEO and chief investment picker.
Along with the segment, embedded below, 60 Minutes also has some "web-extra" clips: Buffett's Farming Crusade (Howard talks about why "plow" is not one of his favorite words), and Why Howie? (Warren talks about why he wants Howard to succeed him as Chairman.)
Current Berkshire stock prices:
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Stifel Nicolaus analysts aren’t standing for Warren Buffett’s silent treatment: the firm remains unimpressed by the billionaire’s company and refuses to remove its “hold” rating.
When conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway gathers May 5 for its shareholder meeting, Stifel analysts will not be among the select field of three analysts allowed to post questions to Buffett.
1. Buffett will still be running Berkshire Hathaway one year from now.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is buying the owner of Omaha's daily newspaper, the World-Herald.
In a news release, Buffett is quoted as saying the World-Herald "delivers solid profits and is one of the best-run newspapers in America."
The release also notes that Buffett sees the purchase as "consistent" with a past owner's "vision for local ownership."
The purchase is somewhat surprising, as Buffett has often conceded that while he loves newspapers, the industry doesn't have a very bright future.
In a live interview in November, 2009 on CNBC's Squawk Box, Buffett told Becky Quick that newspapers have a "terrible" future as people increasingly turn to online sources of news.
At the 2009 Berkshire shareholders meeting, Buffett said the changing media environment now means newspapers "have the possibility of unending losses" and he didn't "see anything on the horizon that causes that erosion to end."
As a result, he said then that Berkshire would not buy most of the newspapers in the U.S. "at any price."
But he also promised shareholders that Berkshire would not sell the Buffalo News. "On an economic basis you should sell this business. I agree 100 percent, but I am not going to do it."
Buffett's love of newspapers goes back decades. Berkshire has held a the largest institutional stake in the Washington Post Company since the 1970s. He only recently retired from that company's board after 37 years. At the time, he told the Wall Street Journal he would never sell a share of the Post because "it has all kinds of meaning to me."
He fondly recalls delivering almost 500,000 copies of the Post while he was growing up in Washington.
Buffett also had a long-running friendship with Katherine Graham starting in the 70s when she was publisher of the Post. Graham died in 2001.
Warren Buffett tells CNBC today that he sees some bargain stocks in Europe, and began buying one of them "today."
As usual, however, Buffett isn't yet revealing the name of the stock he's accumulating for Berkshire Hathaway.
In a live interview from Japan airing overnight on CNBC Asia , CNBC Europe , and CNBC World (the digital cable network that brings live CNBC Europe and Asia programs to the United States), Buffett told us:
"We today — I left an order when I left Omaha, I left an order to buy one European stock which we will undoubtedly be buying today, and we'll probably be buying it tomorrow and the
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC on Monday there were a number of European stocks he liked and singled out British supermarket group Tesco, in which he already has a stake, as a buying opportunity if it came down in price.