Buffett Not Eager for Berkshire to Be Cyber Insurance Leader

Buffett Not Eager for Berkshire to Be Cyber Insurance Leader

Buffett Not Eager for Berkshire to Be Cyber Insurance Leader

While Buffett said it did seem like more moats had become susceptible to invasion recently, he still observed plenty of companies, such as the See's sweets unit that Berkshire owns, where they were holding firm.

Berkshire posted a first-quarter net loss of $1.14 billion, or $692 per Class A share, compared with net income of $4.06 billion, or $2,469 per share, a year earlier.

But Berkshire also ended a long stretch of disappointing operating performance, posting record operating profit as insurance rebounded from a hard quarter while economic growth bolstered results in railroad, industrial and consumer businesses.

As is the case with all his investments, Buffett said he's looking at the long term and wasn't particularly anxious about whether Apple would hit various sales targets in the first quarter.

"I'm delighted to see them repurchasing shares", Buffett said, four days after Apple announced that it may repurchase US$100 billion of stock. The company also has major investments in such companies as American Express, IBM and Wells Fargo & Co.

Buffett presided on Saturday at Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, which was expected to have drawn more than 40,000 people.

The shares closed up 3.9 percent at US$183.83 on Friday.

Buffett said that cyber risk is part of his estimate that every year carries about a 2 percent chance of a super catastrophe that would cause $400 billion or more of insured losses.

In other comments at the shareholder meeting on Saturday, Buffett said it is unlikely that the U.S. and China will come to loggerheads on trade.

Buffett said he had "made a mistake" on conglomerate Alphabet. "Yet the costs keep going up".

Pretax profit at industrial businesses such as Precision Castparts rose 32 percent, while lower taxes helped boost profit at the Berkshire Hathaway Energy unit by 22 percent.

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