Buffett says election is important but won't damage economy

For the first time ever, Berkshire Hathaway live streamed the meeting over the internet. The company's profit grew 8 percent, largely because of the way it had to account for its Duracell acquisition on paper, but profits fell at its BNSF railroad and at its insurance units. The investor said it's important not to try to copy others who profited in a company's initial public offering or claimed a lottery jackpot.

Net income climbed to US$5.59bil from US$5.16bil a year earlier, the Omaha, Nebraska-based company said Saturday in a statement with preliminary results.

Prior to acquiring and running Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett was a hedge fund manager in Omaha, Nebraska. Buffett estimates roughly 40,000 people attended the shareholders meeting.

That kind of advice — and Buffett and Munger's willingness to take nearly any question — are part of what keeps people coming back to the meetings.

Berkshire's large conglomerate of more than 90 companies and investments shields individual subsidiaries from that pressure.

Warren Buffett is the quintessential bottom-up stock picker - buying good quality companies and not worrying if, in his own words, "the market were to shut down for the next 10 years". Buffett said there "really wasn't any defense" for Valeant's price hikes, while Munger said Valeant was "leading the pack" of certain industry players who were raising prices dramatically. But I was left wondering what all the hype is about, simply because for 99% of the people in attendance, who spent decent money on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc., they have zero chance of replicating, even poorly, what he has done. "That's my sole test".

Despite Buffett's reticence this weekend, however, Berkshire Hathaway has not been silent on climate change.

Berkshire is seen as a friendlier owner, but Mr Buffett said 3G's cuts have been "extremely intelligent", and did not appear a threat to Kraft Heinz's ability to produce packaged goods.

"Ninety-nine percent of our consumers were being asked to subsidize the one percent that had solar units", Mr Buffett said.

Another questioner asked about the consistency of avoiding tobacco investments while investing in Coca-Cola (KO) - Mr. Munger suggested that critics who don't consider benefits along with costs are "immature and stupid" - and that Coke products convey significant enjoyment along with any health risks stemming from sugar consumption.

Mr. Buffett also emphasized his worry that derivatives could cause major risks for most of the world's largest banks if markets were disrupted. Some investors believe Mr Jain is a top candidate to succeed Mr Buffett as Berkshire's chief executive. Those dollar signs led to Borsheims setting up a meet and greet for Wang and Buffett after the Invest in Yourself 5K race that Berkshire organizes every year.

"For someone my age, he's a good hero to have", Tim Shanahan said shortly after snapping a quick picture of Buffett touring the exhibit hall. "If you had zero interest rates and you knew you were going to have them forever, stocks should sell at, you know, 100 times earnings or 200 times earnings", he said.

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