Buffett to face big crowd as Berkshire grows bigger

Wed May 3, 2017 10:40am EDT
 
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - As the United States adapts to the presidency of Donald Trump and faces rising tensions abroad, Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N: Quote) shareholders will descend on Omaha, Nebraska this weekend seeking reassurance, from Warren Buffett.

The weekend known as "Woodstock for Capitalists" is unique in corporate America, a celebration of the billionaire's image and success at a conglomerate whose businesses range from Geico insurance to the BNSF railroad to See's candies to Ginsu knives.

Buffett, 86, and vice chairman Charlie Munger, 93, will answer five hours of questions at Saturday's annual meeting.

Many say it reinforces their views about investing and Berkshire, even if it remains unclear how much new they learn.

"Watching someone like (Buffett) with strong command on details of the economy and Berkshire's operations is very impressive," said Meyer Shields, a Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst who rates Berkshire "market perform." "But you're not going to learn a lot about Berkshire Hathaway the company."

Last year's attendance fell to about 37,000 from more than 40,000 a year earlier.

But there were also 1.1 million real-time sign-ons to Yahoo Finance, which webcast the meeting for the first time. It will do so again, in English and Mandarin.

  Continued...

 
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, smiles before speaking with Bill Gates (not pictured), at Columbia University in New York, U.S., January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton - RTSXPMW