4 Key Takeaways From Warren Buffett's Comments At Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting
~4.1 mins read

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) shareholders flocked to Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday, looking to glean some insight from Warren Buffett at the company's annual meeting.

Buffett touched on everything from Tesla's (TSLA) self-driving technology to his thoughts on artificial intelligence and the state of the economy. Here are four key takeaways from the extensive question-and-answer portion of the annual shareholder event.

For about 60 years, shareholders have made the annual pilgrimage to Omaha, Nebraska to hear directly from the "odd couple" who built the company into the multi-billion-dollar conglomerate it is today.

This year's shareholders meeting was markedly different without Charlie Munger, Buffett's long-time business partner who died in November at age 99. Munger, who used to sit next to Warren on the stage, was always ready with a one-liner to solidify Buffett’s point, answer shareholder questions or dispense witty bits of wisdom.

The annual movie that kicked off the meeting focused on those quips this year, showing Munger throughout the years making jokes or snarking about business as Buffett laughed by his side.

Seated next to Buffett this year, vice chairs Ajit Jain, the head of Berkshire’s insurance businesses, and Greg Abel, who runs all non-insurance businesses, were loathe to upstage Buffett. The pair mostly focused on facts and figures behind their respective operations.

Buffett mentioned Munger extensively throughout the day and the crowd chuckled during a bittersweet moment when he handed a question off to Charlie Munger out of habit, meaning to give Abel a chance to speak.

In light of Munger's passing, many investors asked questions about the company's succession plans.

Buffett alluded several times throughout the meeting to Abel taking over the company after the CEO's death. Abel became vice chairmen of the company in 2018 alongside Jain, and the pair have taken on a larger, more public role over the past few years.

"We've really got the problem solved for the next 20 years unless something untoward happens," he said.

Succession is important to shareholders because Buffett and Munger were known for a particular brand of business savvy and partnership. Many are seemingly searching for signs the company can maintain its success after Buffett dies. Buffett, for his part, answered most questions about succession by saying executives and the board will decide on the details when the time comes.

That being said, Buffett touched on who he thinks will replace Jain ("We won't find another Ajit, but we have an operation that he has created"), and who will pick stocks once he's gone ("[Greg] understands businesses extremely well, and if you understand businesses, you understand common stocks.")

In the hours before the meeting, Berkshire Hathaway released its first-quarter earnings report, showing a large cash hoard.

According to the first-quarter filing released this morning, the company holds$36 billionin cash and$153 billion in Treasurys, for a total cash hoard of $189 billion. That's much higher than at the same time last year when the company had $130 billion in that stockpile.

Shareholders wanted to know how Buffett plans to deploy the capital and his response was frank.

"I don't think anybody's sitting at this table has any idea of how to use it effectively and therefore we don't," he said. "...We only swing at pitches we like."

Buffett noted during his presentation of the company's earnings that its cash position, excluding the amount held by the railroad, utility and energy businesses, stood at $182 billion at the end of the last quarter. He said it's "a fair assumption" that the the number will rise to about $200 billion at the end of the second quarter.

"We'd love to spend it, but we won't spend it unless we think we're doing something that has very little risk and can make us a lot of money," he said.

The earnings report also revealed Berkshire significantly cut its stock holdings in Apple (AAPL).

Based on the value of holdings cited in its quarterly report, Berkshire cut the amount of shares it is holding by about 13%. That's a bigger reduction than in the previous quarter and equates to about 116 million fewer shares.

Berkshire Hathaway investors grabbed onto the decline, but Buffett dismissed the notion that it was because his views on the iPhone maker have changed.

"We will end up—unless something dramatically happens that really changes capital allocation strategy—we will have Apple as our largest investment, but I don't mind at all under current conditions building the cash position," Buffett said.

Even with the cut, Apple remains the conglomerate's largest stock holding, and Berkshire is still the tech giant's single largest shareholder.

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Berkshire Hathaway Adds To Cash Stockpile, Operating Income Improves In Q1
~2.1 mins read

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), (BRK.B) announced its latest quarterly earnings, reporting another record cash holding and strong gains in its stock portfolio.

The company’s latest results were announced a few hours ahead of the first annual meeting since the death of Buffett's long-time business partner Charlie Munger in November. Thousands of people have gathered in Omaha, Nebraska to hear Buffett talk about the first-quarter earnings and the economy at the company's annual meeting.

One of the key takeaways from Berkshire’s earnings was another record in its cash and U.S. Treasury holdings. The company now holds$36 billionin cash and$153 billion in Treasurys, for a total cash hoard of $189 billion.

Investors will be looking at Buffett to provide some clues about where this money could be deployed or which pockets of the markets he finds attractive.

Buffett said in the company’s annual letter this year that “only a handful of companies” in the U.S. met the Berkshire investment criteria, adding that "there are essentially no candidates,” elsewhere in the world.

Operating earnings at the conglomerate rose to$11.2 billion in the first quarter of 2024, up from $8.06 billion in the same period a year ago. Net income, an ineffective gauge according to Buffett because of unrealized investment gains or losses, was$12.7 billion, downcompared to $35.5 billion for the same period a year ago.

The company had growing results in both its insurance and railroad businesses. Insurance investment income continued to improve, returning $21.5 billion in insurance premiums during the first quarter, up from $19.8 billion a year ago.

Surging auto insurance costs have been a big driver of profits, increasing at the fastest pace since 1976 at the tail end of 2023. A recent report also found home insurance premiums to be spiking, with homes covered for $250,000 seeing a 23% increase from 2023.

The railroad, utilities and energy businesses will be in focus due to volatile commodity prices. The company reported$24.4 billion in segment revenues for the quarter,up from $21.9 billion a year ago. 

Buffett was bullish on the future of railroads in his annual letter.

"A century from now, BNSF will continue to be a major asset of the country and of Berkshire. You can count on that," he remarked.

Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares closed on Friday at $400.87, up more than 25% over thelast year.

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S&P 500 Gains And Losses Today: Amgen Soars As Weight-Loss Drug Shows Promise
~2.9 mins read

Major U.S. equities indexes notched solid gains after the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed a slowdown in hiring and wage growth in April along with an uptick in the unemployment rate.

The cooler labor market provides a positive data point for investors looking for confirmation that inflation has been brought under control enough for the Federal Reserve to begin lowering interest rates over the coming months.

The S&P 500 jumped 1.3% on Friday. A strong earnings report from Apple (AAPL) underpinned outperformance in the tech sector, helping lift the Nasdaq 2.0%. The Dow was up 1.2%.

Amgen (AMGN) shares led the S&P 500 higher, popping 11.8% amid optimism about its experimental weight-loss drug MariTide.

As Amgen aims to compete with massively successful anti-obesity drugs from other companies, its CEO stressed MariTide's profile is differentiated enough to meet unfulfilled medical needs. William Blair analysts cited the drug's potential while upgrading Amgen stock to "outperform" on Friday.

Shares of GE Vernova (GEV), the energy company that completed its separation last month from the General Electric conglomerate, added 8.1%.

The gains came amid reports that GE Vernova was joining with Africa Finance Corporation and other investors to finance a massive renewable energy project in Morocco.

Enphase Energy (ENPH) shares gained 7.7%, reversing a portion of the losses posted last week after the solar technology firm reported soft quarterly results and issued underwhelming guidance.

Although the downbeat outlook reflects persistent challenges in the solar sector, Enphase announced Friday it is seeing increased deployments of its energy systems in Florida as homeowners prepare for an active hurricane season.

Shares of Live Nation Entertainment (LYV) advanced 7.2% after the event promotion and ticketing firm posted better-than-expected first-quarter revenue. The Ticketmaster parent company benefitted from high ticket prices as well as robust demand for concerts and other live events.

Expedia Group (EXPE) shares posted the heaviest losses among S&P 500 stocks, plunging 15.3% after the travel booking provider lowered its full-year guidance.

Weakness from Expedia's vacation rental platform Vrbo and its business-to-consumer segment contributed to the lackluster outlook.

Cybersecurity firm Fortinet (FTNT) topped first-quarter revenue and earnings estimates, but its billings dropped from the year-ago period and fell short of forecasts. That sent shares of the company down, tumbling 9.7%.

Slower growth in the firewall market dragged on Fortinet's results, with companies spending less for on-site data center equipment as they move more applications onto cloud platforms.

Paramount Global (PARA) shares fell 7.0% amid reports that exclusive merger talks with production company Skydance Media have stalled.

The plunge in Paramount stock marked a reversal from strong gains posted in the previous session after Sony Pictures and Apollo Global Management entered a joint bid to buy the entertainment giant. However, the probability of that deal coming to fruition also remains uncertain.

Shares of Trimble (TRMB) dropped 7.0% after the provider of GPS software and analytics issued lower-than-expected sales and profit guidance for the current quarter.

Trimble faces pressure from high input costs and elevated interest rates leading customers to rein in their spending, dragging on its field systems and software divisions.

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What You Need To Know Ahead Of Reddit's First Earnings Report Since Its IPO
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Reddit (RDDT) is set to announce on Tuesday its first quarterly earnings since the social media company made its trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in March.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings show Reddit's 2023 revenue was $804 million, representing 21% growth from 2022's $666.7 million. Reddit's net loss was $90.8 million in 2023, narrowing from $158.6 million the previous year.

For the fourth quarter of 2023, Reddit said its revenue came in at $249.8 million, up from $207.5 million in the third quarter and $200.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, suggesting Reddit's recent revenue trajectory has been one characterized by growth. However, Reddit also saw its revenue decline in first quarter of 2023 from the fourth quarter of 2024 as well as the first quarter of 2022 from the fourth quarter of 2021, in what could point to seasonal weakness in the first quarter.

Reddit offers investors a look into its user engagement by providing quarterly averages for daily unique user (DAUq) counts. Reddit records quarterly DAUq numbers for logged-in users and those accessing the platform's content while logged out.

Raymond James analysts indicated they expect DAUq to be a "positive standout" for Reddit. They projected the company will report 38.5 million logged-in DAUq in the first quarter, up from 36.4 million in the final quarter of 2023 and the 31.1 million recorded in the year-ago period.

JPMorgan analysts, who wrote that they "remain on the sidelines" in part waiting for "greater confidence in DAUq trajectory over time," said that they expect "strong 20%+ Y/Y DAUq growth, in line with recent levels, but we recognize growth will likely decelerate through 2H on tougher comps and as the user base grows larger."

When filing for its initial public offering (IPO), Reddit disclosed that it was advertising and licensing its data for artificial intelligence (AI) training.

Bank of America analysts called Reddit a "senior" social company that is "still early in advertising and data license monetization."

JPMorgan analysts said that "Reddit captures a hard-to-reach audience that’s highly engaged," noting "the company’s corpus of historical information could represent a compelling source for LLM (large language model) training."

The analysts estimated "ad revenue growth of +21% Y/Y & expectations may be even higher" for the first quarter. Reddit's first-quarter earnings report could help strengthen investor sentiment about its growth prospects.

Reddit's stock price at $46.64 as of Friday's close was up about 37% from its IPO price of $34.

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Is Love Worth The Price?
~0.8 mins read
In a quaint bookstore nestled in a bustling city, two souls found each other amidst the pages of countless stories. Sarah, a writer with a heart full of dreams, and Jack, a passionate reader with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, met one rainy afternoon.

Their love blossomed over shared literary passions and late-night conversations. But as their bond deepened, Sarah faced a difficult choice: pursue her dream of becoming a published author or support her family by taking a stable job.

With Jack by her side, Sarah took the leap of faith, pouring her heart into her writing despite the uncertainty. Through rejection letters and moments of doubt, Jack remained her steadfast anchor, reminding her that love was worth every sacrifice.

Years passed, and Sarah's perseverance paid off when her debut novel became a bestseller. Yet, it wasn't the fame or success that mattered most—it was the journey they took together, the unwavering support, and the love that made every sacrifice worth it.

In the end, they realized that love wasn't just about finding someone to share life's joys; it was about facing life's challenges hand in hand, knowing that together, they could weather any storm.
Teach Your Wife Gratitude — Music Producer Samklef Tells Singer AdekunleGold
~0.2 mins read

Music producer Samklef has responded to singer AdekunleGold by asking him to teach his wife the attitude of being grateful.

He went down memory lane to recount things he allegedly did for the singer, while he claimed that he always paid for Simi transport fare alongside her then boyfriend.

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