Yahoo Finance summarizes the main topics raised at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting.
ANDY SERVER: And that concludes the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in 2021. But stick, there’s a lot to talk about, a lot to overcome with our panel here at Yahoo Finance. Of course, Buffett and Munger talk about all sorts of topics concerning Berkshire, how the company is presented, the economy, the railways, technology stocks, bitcoins, the whole range.
And the atmosphere here in the room, you guys, is different from last year, when there was absolutely no one at the CHI Cavernous Center in Omaha. There are directors, you can hear them behind me talking right now. It turned out to be a lot of them. So there was some reaction in response to the cingers that Buffett, and in particular Charlie Manger, delivered to the crowd. But it is still not the same as the 40,000 people who visit each year.
And you heard Buffett end up there just talking about how he hopes everyone will return to Omaha next year. And of course, he had the exact date right there, April 30, 2022. So I want to go around and get some reaction, from the top of the panel. Miles Woodland, why don̵
MILES ABROAD: Well, you know, Andy, it’s funny. Every year you get out of it and you always think about tone and themes. And I was thinking about last year’s meeting and you wrote a little about it this morning in Yahoo Finance, it was kind of bottomless. If you go through and look at a bunch of COVID statistics and think about where the economy has been, where everyone’s attitude is, the market, of course, we already know has bottomed out about six weeks before this meeting, which I believe the exact date was May 2nd. .
But it really was something like the absolute trough, the lowest, if you will, COVID moment in the United States. And there have been many dark days since then. But now we are talking about more than 50% of the population with at least one vaccine. We see things reopen. And to that end, this year’s conversation was a much more classic Buffett conversation, if you will.
I know we will get to the history lesson we had in the beginning with 30, the best 20 stocks compared to 30 years ago. Buffett talked about the economy, the news of the day. But in the beginning we had a bit of a monologue like last year, but it wasn’t, you know, almost felt last year, right, guys, like you were trying to pump the country, pump yourself up and try not to be so gloomy about everything.
But Julia, it felt like you could make Buffett try, I don’t know, maybe it sounds more normal, if that’s the way to say it. At some point, all the years go by together. But this one didn’t feel as sad as I think last year did.
JULIA LA ROCHE: Miles, I think he’s completely nailed. In fact, I reviewed last year’s meeting, at least the monologue. I examined it this morning and it was quite thorough. Although there were a lot of bullish nuances, I think a lot of people were really looking at Warren Buffett this time last year, because it was just such unexplored territory that we, as a globe, had entered.
And including, remember, he hadn’t even had a haircut last year like all of us. But yes, I would agree with you. I think when he makes these points, a lot of things change. And he’s referring to that at the beginning here, and we’re going to get into that, as you just mentioned. But even in the world in the last year, talking about the rise of the retail investor.
This theme kept coming to an end, even raising Robin Hood’s gambling as something like talking about the casino and a kind of warning about it. While American companies are a great place to invest, invest and be secure, you also need to be very careful. So those were my key things to take here. Shall we import, Akiko, what do you think?
AKIKO FUJITA: Yes, Julia, I must say that this was my first year that covered the event. It is interesting to see how broad the questions were. Focusing on your question about what Warren Buffett said about the Robin Hood trade. What stood out to me in those hours was that he patiently answered all the questions, there was a little division that I saw between where the market mood was at the moment, where the excitement was, compared to where Warren Buffett and Charlie Manger were. see the possibilities.
When you talk about bitcoins, for example, it’s no surprise, a strong opinion there from Charlie Munger, saying that of course he hates the success of bitcoins and thinks that modestly what the whole development tests and contrary to the interests of civilization, these were his words . I also thought the comments on the climate issue were interesting. Of course, at the very end of this meeting, we saw that the proposal was voted in favor of greater disclosure of climate risk.
But we also heard from Warren Buffett when asked about his latest investment in Chevron. $ 4.1 billion, his position on how he felt about it in the discussion of building climate risks by investing in a fossil fuel company. And he really seemed to double that by saying that Chevron was no bad company. He says I don’t mind owning it, or at least owning it.
In fact, he went further than that and said that if we owned the whole business, I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. And that to me seems like a bit of a split from where investors are at the moment, which is enhanced disclosure. And of course, Andy, we have the judgment of the SEC. So I’m not sure if Berkshire will eventually force his hand on substance. I thought that was an interesting comment.
ANDY SERVER: Okay, thanks, Akiko and Miles and Julia. We will take a short break, but will return shortly afterwards to discuss much more here from Los Angeles at the end of the annual shareholders’ meeting in Berkshire Hathaway. Stay on the line.