Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Meeting Starts with Profit Surge

Berkshire Hathaway's Annual Meeting Starts with Profit Surge firstamericannews

Wall Street Journal News.- The annual event that draws Warren Buffett fans from all over is finally here in Omaha, Nebraska. Thousands of shareholders flocked to the arena on Saturday to hear what Mr. Buffett, affectionately known as the Oracle of Omaha, has to say. Mr. Buffett, the CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has been using this meeting as an opportunity to discuss various topics such as share buybacks, corporate taxes, activist investors, and even philosophical topics such as the meaning of a good life.

According to Chris Bloomstran, the President of Semper Augustus Investments Group, who spoke at a value investing conference held by Gabelli Funds on Friday, this event is just a celebration. Despite being 92 years old, Mr. Buffett and his 99-year-old right-hand man, Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, remain as sharp as ever. Along with Berkshire lieutenants Ajit Jain and Greg Abel, they are set to answer approximately 60 questions from the public for several hours on Saturday. Wall Street Journal News said.

Even if they end up answering only one question, Mr. Bloomstran said that every year they still get to come to Omaha and listen to the speakers is a victory and one of the greatest pleasures in life.

The atmosphere outside the convention center on Saturday was less jubilant, where pilots for Berkshire-owned NetJets protested company executives, dressed in uniform, who they say have failed to meaningfully address conditions leading to a shortage of workers. However, shareholders present for the meeting mostly strode past, appearing to have other things on their minds.

Get WSJ Newspaper for $318

Like in previous years, many shareholders lined up well before sunrise in the hopes of securing the best seats inside the convention center. Last year, Berkshire’s meeting filled 90% of hotel rooms in the county on Friday and Saturday nights, according to Jasmyn Goodwin, the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Visit Omaha. Hotels closest to the convention center, where the meeting takes place, frequently book out months in advance.

At a Hertz counter in Omaha’s airport on Thursday, one couple discovered that the last remaining cars available for the weekend would cost them approximately $500 a day, and they were shocked to hear it due to the scarcity of car rentals. Nevertheless, to many shareholders, the trip is still worth it. Even though shareholders can watch a live stream of the annual meeting online, many still choose to come to Omaha to network with other shareholders, stroll through the sprawling exhibition hall that sells Berkshire subsidiaries’ goods, and catch up with friends.

Get Wall Street Journal News Digital and The Economist 3-Year Combo Package for $129

Berkshire started Saturday’s proceedings by releasing its results for the first quarter. The company reported net income of $35.5 billion, or $24,377 a Class A share equivalent, which is up from $5.58 billion, or $3,784 a Class A share equivalent, from the previous year. Operating earnings, which exclude some investment results, rose to $8.07 billion from $7.04 billion last year.

Mr. Buffett has long advised the company’s shareholders to focus on Berkshire’s operating earnings rather than net income, which he believes is a better reflection of how the company is doing. Since accounting rules mandate the company to include unrealized gains and losses from its massive investment portfolio in its net income, that figure can increase significantly if the markets soar, even if Berkshire’s underlying businesses’ performance remains relatively stable.

Berkshire reported investment gains of $34.8 billion in the first quarter, compared with losses of $1.7 billion in the same period the previous year. Investors’ bets on the Federal Reserve getting closer

Sales Support