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Pre-market stocks: Can Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, still see the future?

What’s happening: At Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting over the weekend, Buffett defended the company’s decision not to publish reports on how it handles the risks of climate change. He claimed that Berkshire (BRKA) has performed well in investing in renewable energy through its utilities and said it would be “asynchinous” to make all of the group’s many companies more transparent.
But the pressure is growing. At the meeting, an investor asked him about Berkshire̵
7;s decision to own a large stake in the oil giant Chevron (CVX) given the concerns about the climate crisis.

Buffett said he “has no agreement” on owning Chevron and would not like all hydrocarbons to be banned quickly, although he noted that the world is moving away from them quickly.

“If we owned the whole business, I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable being in this business,” Buffett said.

Discount: The company’s shareholders side with the 90-year-old CEO. The proposal asking Berkshire Hathaway to tackle climate change more directly – as well as a measure calling for more diversity and inclusion – failed.

Still, it’s not hard to see how the winds blow. Countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom are announcing increasingly ambitious emission reduction targets, while hundreds of large corporations have made zero net commitments and are investing in sustainable business.

The wider investment community is also rushing in as clients push fund managers to create portfolios focused on sustainability, while impressive growth for companies like Tesla is sparking enthusiasm among everyday investors.

Global assets in sustainable funds reached a record high of nearly $ 2 trillion in the first three months of 2021, up 18 percent from the previous quarter, according to new Morningstar data.

During the meeting, Berkshire Vice President Greg Abel, who has been chosen as Buffett’s likely successor, said he “has a clear commitment to decarbonising our business”. He added that the company will retire all its coal blocks by 2050.

Still, this may not be enough to convince skeptics that Buffett, nicknamed the Oracle of Omaha, correctly assesses the risks in the play.

Although Chevron has said it may rethink parts of its business model in light of climate fears, it remains a $ 200 billion fossil fuel empire synonymous with the oil and gas industry. As efforts to increase reliance on cleaner energy accelerate, his business will face strong headwinds. This could be a threat to Berkshire Hathaway and Buffett’s reputation as well.

Epic vs. Apple: The legal battle could change the digital economy

Since launching in 2008, the Apple App Store has been the only gatekeeper between apps and the iPhone and iPad.

Other platforms, such as Google’s Android, allow apps to be downloaded through third-party stores. But for all developers who want to be on Apple’s mobile devices, the choice is simple – it’s the App Store or nothing.

Epic v Apple: The legal challenge that could change the future of the digital economy
This gives Apple (AAPL) huge power over the conditions it can dictate to app manufacturers, says my CNN Business colleague Brian Fung. Most notably, every time you purchase a digital product or service in many iOS apps, it is processed in a payment system operated by Apple, and Apple charges a 30% fee.

Now the federal judge must decide: Is Apple’s policy just part of a highly successful business model or is it a violation of US antitrust law?

In a lawsuit starting Monday, the judge will consider whether Apple has reason to require many app makers – and as an extension – consumers – to use the company’s payment technology.

The potential lawsuit stems from a lawsuit filed by the maker of the hit video game Fortnite. Apple launched Epic from its platform last summer for non-compliance.

The high-profile case will involve witnesses, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and his senior lieutenants. Representatives for Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT) are also expected to testify. Corporate emails and presentations could provoke a fierce battle in the courtroom over App Store policies, which are increasingly being monitored by regulators in Europe, US lawmakers and more.

Remember: Last Friday, European regulators accused Apple of violating EU antitrust laws, saying the company’s rules unfairly restrict competing music services. Taken together with the Epic case, it is clear that the company is playing in defense.

The debate is growing because of the ban on political discussions at work

Late last month, Basecamp, a project management software company, made an unusual move: banning political discussions at work.

Given the company’s relatively small size, the decision – announced in an extensive blog post by CEO Jason Fried – may have gone with little notice, writes my CNN Business colleague Sarah Ashley O’Brien.

But it quickly provoked a backlash. Approximately 20 out of less than 60 Basecamp employees have posted on Twitter that they are leaving the company, with some explicitly stating the new policies. The company offers compensation packages for those who choose to leave, given the “new direction”.

Not the first: Coinbase’s cryptocurrency exchange took off last fall when CEO Brian Armstrong said he had no room to engage in “broader public affairs” or “political causes” outside the company’s core mission.

The decision was criticized by some as deeply misguided and praised by others. Paul Graham, the venture capitalist and co-founder of Silicon Valley’s elite accelerator Y Combinator, tweeted at the time: “I guess the most successful companies will follow Coinbase’s example.”

But experts on diversity and inclusion say such moves are bold and instead seem motivated by fear of change. The ban on politics at work is seen as an attempt to “bottle gin on wake-up politics so that people can simply get out of what they got out of before,” according to Y-Vonne Hutchinson, founder of the consulting firm. to turn on the ReadySet.

Hutchinson told CNN Business that what people who make these decisions “don’t realize – or maybe what they don’t want to realize – is that in an environment where there is literally no division between your job and your home, and your very existence is political, you can’t really separate the two. “

It follows

Estee Lauder (ON) reports results before the opening of US markets. XPO logistics (XPO) follows after closing.

Also today: The ISM April Production Index releases at 10 a.m. ET.

Coming tomorrow: CVS (CVS),, Pfizer (PFE),, Hyatt hotels (З.),, I lift (I PICK UP) and Zillow (C) after profit.

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