Thursday, May 12, 2005

Annual Meeting Notes, Commentary, Investigations, and Long Lost Cousin Jimmy -- Front Page News!

So I and a few other hearty Buffett Club members attended the annual meeting last weekend, greeting the morning chill along with thousands of other devotees in Omaha to kiss the ring. Habemus Oraculus. There were a wide range of investors in attendance, see link. Charlie Munger was on fire this year. Very few of his typical, ‘nothing more to add’, and instead he offered an incisive commentary on most issues. It was fun. They started with the quote below. My perspective: in 1999 (my last meeting) the median question asked was about internet and tech stocks, from a mildly I told you so sort of perspective. Repeat, 2005. Replace “Tech” with “Property” and “Real Estate”. See Buffett’s comments on per acre land prices in Laguna beach. Bubblelicious. After the quote below follows a motley assortment of articles and news, ranging from three must reads detailing an unusually thorough set of notes from the meeting (first link is best), a few articles on is a note from Pesek at Bloomberg about Asia’s argument about who is right about the dollar – Warren or Alan, good note on the Budweiser purchase (I think he is still buying), more commentary on meeting, on HIH scandal from NZ perspective, NetJets pilots picketing (they don’t have many good outside options…),then a Robert Miles commentary on what guides Buffett’s decisions. Penultimate, a front page WSJ article about Cousin Jimmy (subsctiption only). You heard it here first folks. Sister Doris even wants DNA testing… Then, notes from Morningstar on the Annual Meeting.

“I’M WARREN. He’s Charlie. We work together. We really don’t have any choice, because he can hear and I can see.” Thus Warren Buffett and his vice-chairman, Charles Munger, to some 19,000 shareholders assembled in Omaha, Nebraska, for the annual general meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, a publicly-quoted investment holding company that has wiped the floor with the S&P 500 in all but six of the past 40 years. The average age of the two gurus is 78, but in a fine display of stamina and humour they tossed questions back and forth for six hours on everything from the end of civilisation as we know it to selling furniture. (Economist Online)

Must Reads:

Notes From The 2005 "Woodstock of Capitalists"

The oracle speaks: Warren Buffett and Charles Munger warn of real estate 'bubble,' the risk of terrorist nukes.
CNN: Text from annual meeting…

From The Economist Global Agenda
Economist -
But Warren
Buffett has survived such spots before. ... Mr Buffett says that he is "comfortable" with both German and British companies and owns a bit of both. ...

Other of Interest:

Greenspan or Buffett? Asia Mulls Who's Right: William Pesek Jr.

Welcome to Miller Time, Loser. The great American beer crisis. By Daniel Gross

Reporters' Notebook: Follow the Acme Brick Road

By KAREN RICHARDSON of The Wall Street Journal and ALISTAIR BARR of MarketWatch
Munger-isms, grumble-isms

World's two richest men help guide Berkshire
Seattle Post Intelligencer -
... Warren
Buffett and Bill ... Buffett has said he would never retire as chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire, short of physical or mental incapacity. ...

In Buffett they trust as they buy and hold
Houston Chronicle -
... and hold" investing. It's the strategy of Warren Buffett, one of the world's richest men and its foremost investor. Last weekend ...

General Re has been troubled acquisition for Buffett
Investor's Business Daily (subscription) -
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- In a 2002 letter to shareholders Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett summed up his experience with General Re, a big ...

4 tough questions for Warren Buffett
MSN Money -
... Among other highlights, attendees sample the wares of many
Berkshire (BRK.A, news, msgs) subsidiaries (including DQ and See's Candies) and watch a company ...

Buffett can expect bumpy ride ahead -
Wellington,New Zealand
... Andrew Main writes. Investment legend Warren Buffett will shortly confront one of the most difficult dilemmas of his career. He will ...

Can newspapers escape Warren Buffett's gloomy prediction?
Yeald -
Warren Buffet is a longstanding director and shareholder of The Washington Post. Yet, he isn't exactly touting his newspaper investment. ...

NetJets Pilots to Picket Meeting of Berkshire Hathaway ...
Business Wire (press release) -
San Francisco,CA,USA
April 28, 2005--On Saturday, April 30, pilots employed by fractional-ownership airline NetJets will picket outside the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders' meeting ...

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