Quantfury Gazette

Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE:BRK.B) not-to-miss shareholder meeting promises more than investment tips

Nathan Crooks
Quantfury Team
Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE:BRK.B) annual shareholder meeting can be a profitable endeavor for the tens of thousands of people who flock to attend the event in Omaha, Nebraska, or watch the events unfold on CNBC. Listeners last year, for instance, heard about Warren Buffett’s strategy in Japan, months before the country’s stock market went on to surge 40% to a 34-year record. This weekend, there’s a whole lot more at stake. 

Besides the chance to glean possible investment strategies, investors will get a preview of the company’s future leadership as two executives step up to try to fill the void left by the passing of Charlie Munger, Buffett’s longstanding business partner who was heralded as the architect of the conglomerate. With Buffett himself nearing the age of 94, the company must prove that the Berkshire vision can survive. 

The activities kick off Saturday morning, just as Berkshire releases first quarter results and files a report with regulators that should contain updated information on the shares it’s been buying and selling. Analysts will be especially interested to learn whether it’s continued to trim its position in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), but what people really want to see will be the Q&A sessions made famous for the wise words of wisdom shared by both Buffett and Munger over the past decades.

This year, vice chairmen Ajit Jain and Greg Abel will be the headliners of the morning session after Buffett subtly anointed them as the next company stewards in his February investor letter. They have big shoes to fill, and just as important as what they say will be how they say it. Buffett will join the afternoon session, and his demeanor and tone will also be equally scrutinized. 

Buffett has tried to maintain his light-hearted and humorous outlook in the buildup to this year’s meeting, but it’s likely he’ll face serious questions on topics ranging from stock repurchases to whether or not the company should be split up when he’s no longer around. There could also be queries on the ability of any firm to beat the market in an investment climate increasingly dominated by index funds. Berkshire’s own shares have matched the S&P 500’s return this past year and only marginally beat it over the past five years.

There will be lots of answers at this year’s meeting, but the most crucial insights might just come from observing how well Ajit Jain and Greg Abel work to show how the Buffett-Munger era can endure beyond its founders. Stay tuned.


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