"In first quarter [of 2020] we actually showed a loss of almost $50 billion. I never thought I’d ever see a figure like that. And thinking back, I was trying to remember whether I had gone on vacation during that quarter and turned things over to the other guys or what, but I checked the calendar and that was me." -WB
Attached to this post is my summary and notes from the 2021 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting held virtually in Los Angeles this past Saturday. It is a long read, so here are my three key takeaways:
Warren admitted that Berkshire acted sheepishly during the market crash last year. He sold roughly 1% of Berkshire's net worth in equities instead of buying more stock. His defense was that he was worried about Berkshire's overall exposure to banks and that he expected a catastrophic recession. To quote him "it was not Berkshire's finest moment."
Berkshire has been buying back its own stock aggressively and that will continue in the current market environment. "We can buy our own businesses more cheaply than we can buy others."
Warren presented a "lesson" for new stock market investors. Actually, there were two lessons. The first was in a list of the world's most valuable companies from 1989 - not a single company is still on the same list today. He then made the point that from 1903 to 2009, America went from having zero cars on the roads to nearly 300 million. Over 2,000 companies in that time have competed in the automobile industry... and all but two of them have gone bankrupt. Punchline: Investing seems easy right now, but he assures us that it is not!
Click the link below for the full notes. The extended summary is on the first two pages. Until next year!