Warren Buffett said the US economy is gradually improving, but low interest rates have made bonds “terrible investments” while stocks remain “reasonably priced.” Speaking on CNBC on Monday, the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) said the economy is benefiting from an upturn in areas that had not previously performed well, particularly homebuilding. He also said the rebound is helping create increased traffic for Berkshire’s private plane unit NetJets, and could result in a record profit this year for Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A)’s railroad unit Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
Berkshire Hathaway sells off more Moody’s shares, stake down to 11.1% (ET)
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) sold off another 1.375 million of its Moody’s Corporation (NYSE:MCO) shares in the past three trading days, leaving it with an 11.1 per cent stake in the parent of credit rating agency Moody’s Corporation (NYSE:MCO) Investors Service. Berkshire sold the shares in several transactions on Thursday, Friday and Monday, yielding a total of $84.5 million and leaving it with about 25.3 million shares, according to a regulatory filing on Monday. Last Wednesday, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) said it had sold 1.75 million Moody’s Corporation (NYSE:MCO) shares in the first three days of last week, the first time since 2010 it had sold shares in Moody’s Corporation (NYSE:MCO).
Why Buffett Invited a Bear to Berkshire’s Annual Meeting (WSJ)
What did Warren Buffett hope to accomplish when he invited a short-seller to grill him at Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) 0.00% annual meeting this past weekend? Buffett declined last week to elaborate on why he invited Kass, whose performance as an inquisitor has gotten mixed reviews, to join the panel of journalists and analysts who pose questions at each year’s meeting to Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A)’s vice chairman, Charles T. Munger. But I got a sense of his thinking first-hand in October 2008, when Buffett asked me to be on the panel of journalists who would gather and pose questions to him and Munger.
Billion dollar bet on rate cut pays off (BusinessDay)
It may go down as one of the great currency bets in Australian dollar history – a $US1 billion gamble on a Reserve Bank rate cut that has delivered a $US19 million profit in 36 hours. The beneficiary, if you believe the rumour mill, is investment legend George Soros. Best of all, it appears the 82-year-old American pulled off the deal three times, all with difference foreign exchange brokers in Asia, for a tidy profit of almost $US60 million. Not bad for a bloke who, just three weeks ago, was wrongly declared dead. Soros is a Hungarian-American business magnate, investor and philanthropist, who has built a reputation over the past 25 years of picking the impact of government decisions on currencies and commodities.
Soros and Dell back Waypoint helicopter leasing group (FT)
The funds of two of the world’s highest-profile individual investors – Michael Dell and George Soros – are betting on future high levels of offshore oil production by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in a helicopter leasing company. Waypoint Leasing is one of only two significant lessors of helicopters, alongside Ireland’s Milestone Aviation, and plans to build up a fleet of up to about 65 aircraft. The fleet will mainly be aimed at meeting fast-growing demand for helicopters to ferry workers to and from offshore oil and gas platforms, which are gradually moving further from land. Mr Dell’s family investment vehicle, MSD Capital, and Mr Soros’s private vehicle, Quantum Strategic Partners, are the two biggest investors of three that have invested $375m in Waypoint. Two people involved said both MSD and Quantum had taken equal stakes, while a third investor, Cartesian Capital, had taken a smaller stake. The firms are expected to announce the investment formally early this week.
Greenlight Re’s Einhorn says he added to Apple position (ET)
David Einhorn‘s Greenlight Capital has added to its investment position in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Einhorn, the hedge fund’s president, said on Tuesday. “We’ve added to our Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) position. Now we just wait for the release of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s next blockbuster product,” Einhorn said on a conference call for his Cayman Island-based reinsurer Greenlight Capital Re Ltd. He did not specify when the hedge fund added to its Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) position or the size of its current holdings. At the end of the first quarter, the $8.8 billion Greenlight Capital held 1.3 million Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares, according to a regulatory filing. At the market close on Monday, the shares were worth about $600 million.