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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway meeting for shareholders this weekend let investors – not just Berkshire (NYSE: BRK.A; BRK.B) investors – get some nuggets of wisdom from the 83-year-old billionaire.
Berkshire's earnings are meticulously scrutinized every quarter because its investments include a number of well-known consumer-oriented components. Stock holdings include American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP), Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO), Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT).
Also closely examined and widely attended is Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting. Following are five highlights from Saturday's event, which drew some 38,000 shareholders, analysts, and journalists.
Five Highlights from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Meeting
- During the Q&A session, Buffett was asked to name the one stock he'd put all of his net worth into. Asked the same question during the 2009 annual meeting, Buffett answered Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC). Since then, WFC shares have surged some 150%, comfortably beating the S&P 500's returns over the same period. This time around, Buffett not only didn't say Wells Fargo, he politely declined to answer. Investors clamoring to hear about Buffett's latest buys will have to wait until Berkshire's next 13F SEC filing.
- The question of if and when Berkshire will pay a dividend comes up early and often at Buffett's shareholder meeting. The answer is always the same. Buffett says he believes reinvesting Berkshire's cash is worth more for shareholders than they would receive in a dividend. As Buffett controls 34% of the company's voting power, any dividend proposal is highly unlikely to pass without his support. And, since Buffett' s eldest son Howard is slated to keep watch over Berkshire's culture when his father is no longer running the company, investors shouldn't expect a dividend when that time comes.