October 7, 2014 / 5:44 PM / 4 years ago

Berkshire's Buffett predicts Hillary Clinton will win presidency in 2016

Laguna Niguel Calif. (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Warren Buffett on Tuesday predicted Democrat Hillary Clinton would run for the U.S. presidency in 2016 and win.

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett listens to a shareholder at the Berkshire-owned Borsheims jewelry store where Buffett was selling jewelry as part of the company annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska May 4, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

“Hillary is going to run,” said Buffett, the chairman and chief executive of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc, speaking at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, California.

“Hillary’s going to win,” said Buffett, saying he’d be willing to “bet money on it.”

Buffett is ranked by Forbes as the third-richest person in the world.

Speculation has swirled whether former Secretary of State Clinton will throw her hat into the ring for the next election. While she is considered a potential contender for the job, she herself has yet to announce her decision on running.

“She’s going to announce it as late as possible,” Buffett said.

Buffett also added that he expected a pick-up in U.S. homebuilding as young people marry and create households of their own.

“We will have a catch up period,” he said. “It (homebuilding) will improve.”

The S&P homebuilding index is down about 5 percent in 2014 but has risen about 157 percent since 2008 and the financial crisis.

Buffett - whose Berkshire Hathaway owns dozens of businesses ranging from ice cream to insurance - also said that banks are not as profitable as they were previously.

“What was a very profitable business has been turned into a good business if executed well,” Buffett said of the largest U.S. banks. Among Berkshire Hathaway’s stock portfolio is a significant stake in Wells Fargo.

A decade ago or more, Buffett said, the best banks were “ungodly profitable.”

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Additional reporting by Sam Forgione in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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