Speed Reads

eye on the future

Warren Buffett reasurres shareholders about Berkshire Hathaway's long-term prospects despite underwhelming 2019

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. underperformed in 2019, but its boss is playing it cool.

The conglomerate's stock rose 11 percent compared to a 31.5 percent total return in the S&P 500, but CEO and chair Warren Buffett sought to reassure investors in his annual shareholder Saturday, which is in line with his longstanding opinion that long-term performance should be prioritized over short-term fluctuations in the stock market.

He defended the company's decision to invest heavily in stocks even though it's been several years since Berkshire Hathaway made a major acquisition of a company. He said while he'd prefer to buy a whole company, the "fickle" stock market means stocks are the safer bet.

The 89-year-old Buffett also said the company is well-prepared for the future should he or his 96-year-old business partner and Berkshire vice chair Charlie Munger die. “Charlie and I long ago entered the urgent zone,” Buffett wrote. “That’s not exactly great news for us. But Berkshire shareholders need not worry: Your company is 100% prepared for our departure.” Read more at The Wall Street Journal and Reuters.