(Corrects word in quote by Burlington Northern CEO to
"consumption" instead of "construction" in next-to-last
OMAHA, Neb. May 4 More than 35,000 people
descended on Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday for the annual
shareholder meeting of Warren Buffett's conglomerate Berkshire
Following are selected comments by Buffett, Vice Chairman
Charlie Munger and other Berkshire executives on a broad range
BUFFETT, ON WHETHER HIS SUCCESSOR'S STAMP OF APPROVAL WILL
BE AS VALUABLE AS HIS OWN:
"Berkshire is the 800 number when there is really some panic
in the markets, and people really need significant capital. If
you come to a day when the Dow has fallen 1,000 points a day for
a few days and the tide has gone out and you find some naked
swimmers, those naked swimmers ... will call Berkshire."
BUFFETT, ON U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE ACTIONS TO STIMULATE THE
"We're in uncharted territory. The Fed's balance sheet is
around $3.4 trillion now, and that's a lot of securities.
"Banks' reserve positions are incredible; Wells Fargo has
$175 billion sitting at the Fed earning 0.25 percent. There's
all this liquidity that has been created, and it hasn't really
hit the market because the banks have let it sit there.
"This is like watching a good movie, and I do not know the
"We have benefited significantly, and the country has
benefited significantly, by what the Fed has done."
MUNGER, ASKED HOW TO EXPLAIN BERKSHIRE TO A 13-YEAR-OLD IN
"We always tried to stay sane when other people, a lot of
them, go crazy. That's a competitive advantage.
"We want to treat subsidiaries the way we would want (to be
treated). You try to be a good partner.
"We are leaving behind a field that is very competitive, and
we're getting to a place where we are more unusual. This was a
very good idea. I wish we had done it on purpose."
BUFFETT, RESPONDING TO SHORT-SELLER DOUG KASS ON WHETHER
BERKSHIRE HAS GROWN TOO BIG TO OUTPERFORM THE MARKET:
"There's no question that we cannot do as well as in the
past, and size does matter. In terms of the acquisitions we've
made in the last five years, we think we've done pretty well.
"You haven't convinced me to sell the stock yet, Doug."
MUNGER, ON THE SAME QUESTION:
"You look at companies that got really big in the world, the
record is not very good. We think we'll do a little better than
the giants in the past. Maybe we have a better system."
BUFFETT (@WARRENBUFFETT) ON USING TWITTER TO DISCLOSE
MATERIAL FINANCIAL INFORMATION:
"The key to disclosure is accuracy and simultaneity ... I do
not want it, if I am buying Wells Fargo, to keep hitting up
their web page and hoping I'm not 10 seconds behind someone else
for some important announcement."
BUFFETT ON GROWING IN COMMERCIAL INSURANCE
"I think you will see Berkshire become a very significant
factor in commercial insurance," adding that the business's size
could ultimately be "a fair number of billions."
BUFFETT ON BERKSHIRE'S NEXT CEO:
"The key is preserving a culture and having a successor, a
CEO that will have more brains, more energy, more passion for it
than even I have.... We're solidly in agreement as to who that
individual should be."
MUNGER ON BERKSHIRE'S RETURNS:
"I don't pay attention to five years, three years in terms
of annual gains because our past returns were almost
unbelievable. We are slowing down a little bit but still
BUFFETT ON BERKSHIRE'S SIZE:
"We are now the fifth-most valuable company in the world."
BURLINGTON NORTHERN CEO MATT ROSE, ON THE ECONOMY:
"It feels like a 2 percent economy. If we want to see GDP
click up to 3.5 percent, 4 percent, you need to see more
"Long-term the question is how the Fed makes the transition
from QE to backing out of the market. That's the million-dollar
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Jennifer Ablan; writing by
Ben Berkowitz; editing by Matthew Lewis, Bob Burgdorfer)