Investing Warren Buffett Watch

  Wednesday, 4 Oct 2017 | 12:30 PM ET

Legendary investor Warren Buffett says this one investment 'supersedes all others'

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett says the very best investment you can make is one that "you can't beat," can't be taxed and not even inflation can take away from you.

"Ultimately, there's one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself," Buffett says in a recent interview with Forbes. "Nobody can take away what you've got in yourself, and everybody has potential they haven't used yet."

One of Buffett's investments in himself came in early adulthood, when he signed up for a $100 Dale Carnegie public speaking course that he says changed his life.

"I was terrified of public speaking when I was young. I couldn't do it," Buffett says. In fact, he admits he would become physically ill when the time came to take the podium.

The course was taught at Dale Carnegie, the institute named for the influential speaker and author of "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

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  Wednesday, 4 Oct 2017 | 10:27 AM ET

Billionaire Warren Buffett: ‘I don’t need a tax cut’

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is keenly aware of the potential for gross inequality in the very system that has allowed him his own success. The octogenarian investor is worth almost $80 billion and is the third richest person in the world, according to Forbes.

"I don't think I need a tax cut," Buffett tells CNBC regarding the recently released Republican tax plan.

The new tax framework would eliminate the estate tax, which is levied on money and assets transferred from one person to another at the time of death. Nixing the "death tax" would be a "terrible mistake," says Buffett, because he says that change inordinately benefits the rich.

"The truth is: if they passed the bill that they're talking about, I could leave $75 billion to a bunch of children and grandchildren and great grandchildren, and if I left it to 35 of them, they would each have a couple of billion dollars," all without having to pay tax to receive the inheritance, says Buffett, who has three grown kids.

"Is that a great way to allocate resources in the United States?"

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  Wednesday, 4 Oct 2017 | 6:06 AM ET

Warren Buffett and Larry Fink criticize Trump's tax plan

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
Lacy O'Toole | CNBC
Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

President Donald Trump's tax reform plan came under new criticism on Tuesday from two towering Wall Street figures, including billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who called into question a Republican drive to slash the U.S. corporate rate.

With the White House and top Republicans in Congress already on the defensive over claims the plan would not cut taxes for many middle-class Americans, Buffett and BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink suggested in separate interviews that the corporate rate may not have to be cut as deeply as proposed.

"We have a lot of businesses... I don't think any of them are non-competitive in the world because of the corporate tax rate," Buffett, thechairmanand CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, told CNBC.

Fink said a corporate rate as high as 27 percent could satisfy U.S. businesses' need for tax relief, while avoiding an increase in the federal deficit.

"What is being proposed is a pretty large expansion of our deficits," Fink told Bloomberg TV.

The Republican tax plan unveiled last month calls for slashing the corporate income tax rate to 20 percent from the current level of 35 percent, which many multinationals already avoid paying by taking advantage of abundant tax loopholes.

The plan contains up to $6 trillion in tax cuts, according to independent analysts, which Trump and top Republicans say they would offset by eliminating loopholes, deductions and tax breaks and boosting annual economic growth.

Hungry for legislative victory after repeated failures in their push to overturn Obamacare, many Republicans are now willing to accept a tax plan that raises the federal deficit, a fact that bothers some deficit hawks.

"I feel like in some ways, since Election Day, we've moved into a party atmosphere. And that concerns me," said Republican Senator Bob Corker, who has vowed not to vote for a tax bill that increases the deficit.

Republicans also insist that cutting the corporate tax rate to 20 percent will help workers by increasing jobs and raising salaries, though this claim is disputed by Democrats.

Senator Ron Wyden, the top Senate Democrat on tax policy, accused the Trump administration on Tuesday of removing a research paper from the U.S. Treasury's website that showed workers would benefit only marginally from a corporate rate cut.

"Apparently that mainstream economic analysis had to be purged because it basically didn't jibe with the Trump team's patter," Wyden said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

A Treasury spokeswoman said the document was a dated analysis from the Obama administration that "does not represent our current thinking and analysis."

An analyst who testified at the Senate hearing said only about 20 percent of the benefits of a corporate tax cut would directly help workers.

Buffett and Fink also criticized other Republican tax initiatives. Buffett said a proposal to repeal the estate tax would be "a terrible mistake" that would benefit the wealthiest Americans unnecessarily. Fink predicted tax legislation would not pass if it includes a proposal to eliminate a popular deduction for state and local tax payments.

"I don't believe we're going to get tax reform if there is the elimination of deductibility of state and local taxes," he said.

Eliminating the state and local tax deduction would raise about one-quarter of the $4 trillion in revenues that some Republicans say they need to prevent tax cuts from creating a massive increase in the federal budget deficit.

But eliminating that deduction is already opposed by Republican lawmakers from high-tax states such as New York and California, who say it helps their state governments pay for social programs, including public education.

House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady discussed the state and local tax deduction at dinner on Monday evening with about a dozen other House Republicans, including some New York lawmakers. At least one came away predicting there would be a compromise.

"We kicked around six or eight or 10 different types of options," Republican Representative Chris Collins, a staunch Trump ally from New York, told reporters.

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  Tuesday, 3 Oct 2017 | 4:54 PM ET

Dick Bove: Why I'm still not buying Wells Fargo, despite Tim Sloan's 'superb' efforts

Posted ByMichelle Fox

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan is doing a "superb job" in restoring the company, but widely followed banking analyst Dick Bove told CNBC he's still not buying the stock.

Sloan testified about the bank's fake account scandal before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.

"Tim Sloan has taken huge efforts to try to turn this company around and re-establish its credibility," the equity research analyst at the Vertical Group said in an interview with "Closing Bell" on Tuesday.

However, his problem with Wells Fargo comes down to the fundamentals.

"For the last seven years they haven't been able to increase their operating earnings. And they haven't been able to increase them in the last 12 months," Bove said. "Now they're facing a restructuring of the business at a time when they need to do something to show they can increase sales and earnings and it isn't happening."

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  Tuesday, 3 Oct 2017 | 3:18 PM ET

Warren Buffett says weapons of mass destruction are ‘threat to the world,’ calls North Korea ‘crazy’

Posted ByTae Kim
Warren Buffett
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett said Tuesday he is very concerned over the threat from nuclear weapons.

"Weapons of mass destruction are another story. That is the threat to the world," the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said during a panel discussion in Omaha, Nebraska.

"We have increased the ability of perhaps even an individual, perhaps a group, perhaps a nation ... to kill millions, millions, millions of people in a single stroke. If you were a psychotic back in the cave man age, you threw a rock at the guy in the next cave. That was about the damage you could do."

The billionaire investor said he is not just concerned about nuclear, but chemical, biological and cyberwarfare too. He cited the latest tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

"We got a fellow in North Korea [with a] very poor country, spending a way disproportionate amount of its GDP working on missiles that can hit California. That's crazy," he said. "Wish I had a solution for it, but I don't."

Buffett was speaking at the Purpose Built Communities annual conference.

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  Tuesday, 3 Oct 2017 | 2:49 PM ET

Investor accepts Buffett's second wager against hedge funds, believing the timing is right

Posted ByTae Kim

Warren Buffett already won once betting passive investing in a simple index fund can beat a basket of hedge funds over 10 years. Now a new challenger is stepping up.

The "Oracle of Omaha" told CNBC's Becky Quick on Tuesday that he is willing to do another bet on active versus passive as long as anybody wants to put up "a significant percentage of their net worth" on the wager.

Morgan Creek Capital's founder and chief investment officer, Mark Yusko, accepted Buffet's offer on Tuesday. His firm manages a fund of hedge funds and also does direct and private investments.

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  Tuesday, 3 Oct 2017 | 1:45 PM ET

Watch Warren Buffett discuss markets and the economy

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Warren Buffett, the world's second-richest man, sits down with CNBC on Tuesday for a panel discussion at the Purpose Built Communities conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

In an interview with CNBC's Squawk Box earlier in the day, Buffett said Wells Fargo still has his "faith" after the fake accounts scandal. Buffett is the head of Berkshire Hathaway, Wells Fargo's largest shareholder with a 9.4-percent stake.

The CEO of Wells Fargo, Timothy Sloan, faced a grilling Tuesday morning before the Senate banking committee. In a heated exchange, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, widely considered a potential 2020 presidential candidate for the Democrats, called for Sloan to be fired.

"At best you were incompetent, at worst you were complicit," Warren said.

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  Tuesday, 3 Oct 2017 | 11:53 AM ET

FULL INTERVIEW: Warren Buffett on tax reform, markets, and much more

Posted ByThomas Franck

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and the world's second richest man, had a lot to say to CNBC's Squawk Box and Becky Quick on Tuesday.

The "Oracle of Omaha" discussed his new purchase of truck stop company Flying J, but that was just the beginning.

He also touched on:

  • Why stock valuations make sense
  • Why he is waiting to sell any stock until he can see how the GOP tax plan shakes out
  • His thoughts on Trump's plan to eliminate the estate tax.
  • Wells Fargo still has his "faith"
  • His favorite bank stock
  • And much more...

See above for a video of the full interview and below is a rough transcript of his full remarks to CNBC.

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  Tuesday, 3 Oct 2017 | 9:45 AM ET

After winning bet against hedge funds, Warren Buffett says he'd wager again on index funds

Posted ByTae Kim
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Lacy O'Toole | CNBC
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett said Tuesday that passive investing works in any market environment and so he'd be willing to wager again against active investing for the next 10 years.

A decade ago, the billionaire investor made a million dollar bet that the S&P 500 will beat a basket of fund of hedge funds over the next 10 years, ending this year. He will likely win that bet by a large margin.

The S&P 500 "will absolutely kill every one of the fund of funds," Buffett said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "Passive investment in aggregate is going to beat active investment because of fees."

The investor explained if you don't pay 2 percent or 3 percent of fees to financial advisers, the your payoff for investing in the broad market will be "very good" over time.

When asked if he just got lucky with the timing of the bet, the Buffett said "the date of the start has nothing to do with it."

He said is willing to do another bet on active versus passive as long as anybody wants to put up "a significant percentage of their net worth" on the wager.

Buffett joined CNBC from Omaha, Nebraska — home of Berkshire and where Purpose Built Communities was holding its annual conference.

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  Tuesday, 3 Oct 2017 | 9:00 AM ET

Warren Buffett says he will own Bank of America stock for a 'long, long, long time'

Posted ByTae Kim

Warren Buffett said Tuesday he's optimistic about Bank of America.

Asked during a CNBC interview which bank stock was his favorite, the billionaire chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway replied:

"What's your favorite child?"

"Bank of America has done a sensational job under Brian Moynihan," Buffett added on "Squawk Box."

Berkshire is the largest shareholder of Bank of America, according to FactSet.

"We will be holders of BofA stock for a long, long, long time," Buffett added.

Berkshire Hathaway has major stakes in several other financial firms. including Bank of New York Mellon, Wells Fargo and Synchrony Financial.

Buffett joined CNBC from Omaha, Nebraska — home of Berkshire and where Purpose Built Communities was holding its annual conference.

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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.