ANDY SERWER: And that concludes the 2021 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting to shareholders. But stick around, there is a lot to talk about, a lot to go through with our panel here at Yahoo Finance. Of course, Buffett and Munger talking about all manner of subjects concerning Berkshire, how the company performed, the economy, railroads, tech stocks, Bitcoin, the whole gamut.
And here in the room, you guys, there was nothing else than last year at the cavernous CHI Center in Omaha. The atmosphere is different. You can hear them talking behind me right now. There are directors. There were many of them. In response to Buffett’s zingers, and in particular Charlie Munger, the crowd received a reaction. But the 40,000 people who attend every year are still not the same.
And at the end you heard Buffett talk about how he hoped everybody would come back next year in Omaha. And, obviously, there, 30 April 2022 he had the exact date. So I want a little reaction from the panel. Top line. Why don’t we begin with you, Myles Udland? What’s been your big takeoff?
MYLES UDLAND: Well, you know, Andy, it’s funny. Every year you come out of this and you always think about tone and topics. And I was thinking about last year’s meeting and you wrote about it a little bit this morning on Yahoo Finance, that was kind of the bottom of sorts. If you go through and you look at a bunch of COVID statistics and you think about where the economy was, where everyone’s attitude was, the market, of course, we now know had bottomed about six weeks before that meeting, which I believe the exact date would have been May 2.
But it is the absolute trough in the United States, the nadir, if you like, the COVID moment. And since then, there have been a lot of dark days. Now, however, we speak of over 50 percent of the population with at least one vaccine shot. We see reopening stuff. And for that purpose, if you like, this year’s conversation was more a traditional Buffett talk.
However, Julia, he felt that if that was a way to say Buffett would try to make me don’t understand, perhaps sound more normal. All the years go together at some point. But perhaps he wasn’t so sad because I think he felt the last year.
JULIA LA ROCHE: Myles, I think you totally nailed it. I actually re-watched last year’s meeting, at least the soliloquy. I re-watched that one this morning, and it was quite in depth. Even though he had a lot of bullish undertones, I think that a lot of folks this time last year were really looking to Warren Buffett because it was just such uncharted territory that we as a globe had entered into.
And including, remember, he didn’t even have his haircut last year like the rest of us. But yeah, I would also agree with you. I think when he kind of brings in these points, a lot of things change. And he is referencing that in the beginning here, and we will get into that, as you just mentioned. But even the world in the last year, talking about the rise of the retail investor.
That theme kept on coming up toward the end, even bringing up Robin Hood gambling within kind of talking about the casino and kind of warning about that. While American companies are a great place to put your money in, invest and safe, you also have to be very careful too. So those were my key takeaways here. Should we bring in, Akiko, what do you think?
AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, Julia, I should point out, this was my first year covering the event. It’s interesting to see just how broad the questions were. Picking up on your point though, about what Warren Buffett said about the Robin Hood trade. What sort of stood out to me in these hours that he answered patiently all the questions was, a bit of a divide that I saw between where the sentiment in the market is right now, where some of the excitement is, versus where both Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger see the opportunities.
If, say, he hates the Bitcoin success of course, and he believes that modestly what the whole trend tests and contrary to civilisation interests, those were his words when you talk about the Bitcoin, no surprise, strong opinion from Charlie Munger. I thought the comments on the climatic issue were also interesting. Naturally, we saw that the proposal voted down for increased communications about climate risk at the very end of the meeting.
But when asked about his latest investment in Chevron, we also heard of Warren Buffett. 4.1 billion dollars, his position, on how he was thinking of investing in the fossil fuel company in discussions of building climatic risks. And he seemed really to double it, saying Chevron isn’t a bad company at all. He says that I don’t have any compounds to own or possess it at all.
He actually went beyond that and said that I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable if we owned the whole business. And this, in my opinion, appears to me to be a bit different from where investors are currently feeling more and more disclosure. And we have the SEC weighing into that, of course, Andy. So, I don’t know if Berkshire will essentially have her hand forced by regulation in the end. That was also some sort of interesting comment, I thought.
ANDY SERWER: OK, thanks, Akiko and Myles and Julia. We’re going to take a quick break, but we’ll be right back after that, much more to discuss here from Los Angeles at the end of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting for shareholders. Stay tuned.
Source: Yahoo! US