Blogs & Comment

Seven questions for Buffett

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. holds its annual meetingthis weekend and, despite the swine flu scare, 30,000 shareholders are expected to attend. Given the holding companys performance over 2008, the newspapers say CEO and chief investment officer Warren Buffett is in for more of a grilling this year. Im looking forward to hearing what he will say about:

  1. succession plans (succession riska big reason why Fitchreduced triple-A credit rating)
  2. writing $37 billion in puts on equity indexes despite calling derivatives financial weapons of mass destruction
  3. penning a Washington Post column in October advising Buy American while sellingbig chunks of positions in Johnson & Johnson and Proctor Gamble
  4. large exposure to financial sector
  5. purchase of oil firm ConocoPhillips at the height of the oil bubble
  6. recent investment in water treatment firm Nalco, which has a negative return on equity, total debt to equity greater than 800% and book value consisting mostly of intangibles and goodwill (wheres the moat?)
  7. why so optimistic about the long-term prospects for the U.S. economy when its so reliant on: foreign lenders, very high levels of indebtedness in consumer/government sectors, and printing money by the central bank.