Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meet: Investors wait for word on COVID-19

by Arjun
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Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting is an event that investors across the globe wait for.

While the wit and wisdom of one of the most successful investors of all time-Warren Buffett-is the highlight every year, this year, people will be waiting for what the ‘Oracle of Omaha’ has to say on the near-term trends as the COVID -19 whips through the world.

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc will hold a truncated virtual annual meeting on May 2, where its billionaire chairman will be present but his long-time Vice Chairman Charlie Munger will not, a Reuters report said. The meeting will be streamed live on Yahoo Finance.

Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Meet

Buffett has been, so far, quiet on the COVID -19. In the meeting, investors will desperately want to hear from him on how resilient Berkshire is against the virus that has infected more than 3.32 million people and killed at least 234,702 across the world.

As per Reuters, shareholders expect Buffett to show Berkshire can successfully weather a deep recession.
Reuters further added that Berkshire is also likely to report a huge first-quarter net loss, as investments such as American Express, Bank of America, and the four largest US airlines sank in value.

Many investors will focus on the quarterly performance of Berkshire’s more than 90 operating businesses, which will shed light on what and how much stocks the company purchased during the quarter and the total size of the investment portfolio, including its largest holdings.

Investors will also closely watch how Berkshire’s succession plan moves ahead.

After the appointment of Abel and Ajit Jain to the board in 2018, investors have been expecting more visibility of them but so far they have mostly remained behind the scenes.

In this year’s annual letter, Buffett had indicated that Berkshire was ready for his and Charlie Munger’s departure and Greg Abel and Ajit Jain would have more active roles.

It is futile to fathom Buffett’s success in investing. It is not that he never tasted failure or is immune to the turmoil in the market and the economy for that matter.

As per Reuters, Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD Co Ltd, which is backed by Buffett, on April 28 reported an 85 percent drop in the first-quarter net profit as coronavirus epidemic hit the world’s biggest auto market.

Even though Buffett generally insists on focussing on Berkshire’s operating results, terming quarterly investment gains and losses as meaningless, the time is such that it has made every negative occurrence monitorable.

What makes Buffett special is that most of the time, he has answers and strategies to navigate tough times. The world will certainly be picking hints on May 2.

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