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Buffett Touts Benefits Of Buybacks In His Shareholder Letter

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OMAHA, Nebraska — Stock buyback critics, according to billionaire Warren Buffett, are “either an economic illiterate or a silver-tongued demagogue” or both, and all investors benefit from them as long as they are done at the right prices.

Buffett used a portion of his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders on Saturday to tout the benefits of share repurchases, which have riled up Wall Street critics like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders as many other Democrats. The federal government even imposed a 1% tax on buybacks this year after they surpassed $1 trillion in 2022.

“When you are told that all share repurchases are harmful to shareholders or the country, or especially beneficial to CEOs, you are listening to either an economic illiterate or a silver-tongued demagogue (characters that are not mutually exclusive),” Buffett, a long-time Democrat, wrote.

According to investor Cole Smead, Washington D.C. should take note of Buffett’s position on stock buybacks.

“Any politician, regardless of party affiliation, should stand up and take notice of a statement like that,” said Smead of Seattle-based Smead Capital Management.

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Buffett, in typical self-deprecating fashion,

Buffett, in typical self-deprecating fashion, claimed that Berkshire’s remarkable record of doubling the returns of the S&P 500 over the last 58 years with him at the helm is the result of “about a dozen truly good decisions – that would be about one every five years.”

He mentioned a few in his letter, but he kept his message — which has long been one of the most widely read business documents — remarkably brief this year, at just over eight pages. He also dedicated an entire page to a tribute to his 99-year-old business partner Charlie Munger.

“I think investors, whether Berkshire investors or just Berkshire students, look to him for more, and I think they may come away wanting more,” CFRA Research analyst Cathy Seifert said.

Buffett emphasized how much Berkshire benefits from dividends from large investments in its portfolio, such as Coca-Cola and American Express, even though he refuses to pay a dividend at the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate he leads because he believes he can generate a higher return for shareholders by investing that cash. Last year, Coke paid Berkshire $704 million in dividends, and American Express paid $302 million, helping to increase the value of those stakes to $25 billion for Coke and $22 billion for American Express. In the 1990s, Berkshire paid $1.3 billion for each investment.

Buffett said the key lesson for investors is that “it takes just a few winners to work wonders. And, yes, starting early and living into your 90s helps.”

Berkshire Hathaway reported a sharp drop in fourth-quarter profit to $18.2 billion from $39.6 billion a year earlier as the paper value of its investments fell.

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Berkshire Hathaway reported a sharp drop in fourth-quarter profit

As a result, the value of Berkshire’s sizable stock portfolio distorted those bottom-line figures once more. Because operating earnings exclude derivatives and investments, Buffett believes they are a better measure of Berkshire’s performance. However, Berkshire’s operating earnings fell to $6.7 billion, or $4,584.46 per Class A share, from $7.3 billion, or $4,904.23 per Class A share, the previous year.

This is significantly lower than what Wall Street predicted. FactSet polled three analysts, who predicted Berkshire would report operating earnings per Class A share of $5,305.83 on average.

Analysts said the results were still strong overall, but higher claims costs continued to hurt Geico’s results, while BNSF’s railroad traffic slowed and rising interest rates hurt several of Berkshire’s housing-related businesses, such as its nationwide network of Realtors and its Clayton Homes manufacturing housing unit.

Berkshire’s performance tends to track the performance of the U.S. economy because so many of its dozens of manufacturing, utility, and retail businesses do. The conglomerate is a barometer of the economy in many ways.

Berkshire continues to invest in whole companies and stocks whenever Buffett sees an opportunity. According to Edward Jones analyst Jim Shanahan, he was particularly aggressive last year, making a net investment of approximately $53 billion. Much of that was invested in Occidental Petroleum and Chevron stock and Alleghany Corp. insurance, which was purchased for $11.6 billion last fall.

Despite all of that spending, Berkshire Hathaway’s cash reserves increased to $128.6 billion at the end of the year, up from $109 billion at the end of the third quarter. Berkshire Hathaway’s businesses generate so much cash that it accumulates faster than Buffett can invest.

Berkshire increased its stake in the Pilot Flying J network of 750 truck stops to 80% at the start of this year, up from 38.6% in 2017, which will help this year’s earnings.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Taylor Swift Stuns London Crowd By Bringing Travis Kelce On Stage During Eras Tour Concert

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Taylor Swift feels that being “Instagram official” with Travis Kelce isn’t enough.

Swift went one step further on Sunday, according to social media videos from the event, bringing Kelce on stage with her during her Eras Tour concert at London’s Wembley Stadium.

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Taylor Swift | ELLE Image

Taylor Swift Stuns London Crowd By Bringing Travis Kelce On Stage During Eras Tour Concert

The football star’s big moment occurred amid a shift in Swift’s “Tortured Poets Department” setlist. He was greeted with boisterous yells and acclaim when he initially emerged on stage, dressed in a top hat and a black tailcoat and holding Swift in his arms.

Kelce fanned himself with a hand fan, twirled around, and grinned at Swift while her dancers assisted her with an onstage outfit change.

Swift looked to blow Kelce a kiss before walking away to sing “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart.”

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Taylor Swift | Yahoo Image

Taylor Swift Stuns London Crowd By Bringing Travis Kelce On Stage During Eras Tour Concert

Swift introduced the skit into her act in May after she altered her Eras Tour setlist to include some songs from her most recent album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” which was released in April.

Swift uploaded a photo on Saturday of herself and Kelce posing for a selfie with Prince William and his two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who came to her concert to honor the Prince of Wales’ 42nd birthday.

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Taylor Swift | Page Six Image

Taylor Swift Stuns London Crowd By Bringing Travis Kelce On Stage During Eras Tour Concert

The snapshot is the first Kelce Swift uploaded on her regular Instagram profile, marking their “Instagram official” post.

Swift and the three-time Super Bowl champion first became romantically involved in September.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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‘Hawaii Five-0’ Fan Favorite And Former UFC Fighter Taylor Wily Dies At 56

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Los Angeles — Taylor Wily, a former sumo wrestler best known for his role as confidential informant Kamekona Tupuola on “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I,” died on Friday, according to a friend and a “Hawaii Five-0” producer. He was 56.

“Hawaii Five-0” executive producer Peter M. Lenkov announced his death to The Associated Press and posted numerous condolences to the actor on Instagram, adding, “I am devastated. “Heartbroken” was the caption for a photo of the two.

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Wily

‘Hawaii Five-0’ Fan Favorite And Former UFC Fighter Taylor Wily Dies At 56

KITV 4 in Honolulu was the first to report Taylor’s death on Thursday. Additional data concerning the cause are unknown. Lina Girl Langi, a TV and radio personality, said on the show “Island Life Live” that she broke the news “with a heavy heart,” because Wily was a friend.

Taylor’s longtime friend and partner, Lenkov, uploaded a second post later on Thursday with a video montage of images and clips with him. He commented, “You charmed me into making you a regular on the show and my life.” You were a family member. I’ll miss you every day, brother.”

In an extra statement to the AP, Lenkov said it was difficult to characterize Wily’s “special” qualities and praised the actor’s abilities.

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Wily AP News image

‘Hawaii Five-0’ Fan Favorite And Former UFC Fighter Taylor Wily Dies At 56

“Even though a lot of his ‘Hawaii Five-0’ and ‘Magnum’ scenes featured his comedy skills, he was also an incredible dramatic actor,” Lenvok pointed out. “I wrote a script for him a few years ago and hoped to cast him in my next production. I wanted to keep him near, both as a friend and as an artist. I’m devastated that I won’t get the opportunity.

Taylor played Kamekona on “Hawaii Five-0” from 2010 to 2020 and became a fan favorite. He reprised his role in the reboot of “Magnum P.I.” and had a noteworthy performance as a hotel worker in the 2008 comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”

‘Hawaii Five-0’ Fan Favorite And Former UFC Fighter Taylor Wily Dies At 56

Before becoming an actor, Taylor, born Teila Tuli, was a well-known sumo wrestler and UFC 1 competitor. In 1993, he became the first knockout victim in UFC history after opponent Gerard Gordeau’s kick knocked a tooth out of Wily’s mouth, ending the bout in 26 seconds.

Wily is survived by his wife, Halona, and two children.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Jeff Bezos Is Under Fire At The Washington Post As Patience Wears Thin Among Staffers

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Jeff Bezos | CNN Image

When will Jeff Bezos confront the crisis in his newsroom?

The Washington Post’s owner and Amazon millionaire has yet to take any meaningful action to address concerns at his newspaper, which continues in disarray while explosive reports are published on a daily basis, calling the outlet’s new publisher, Will Lewis, into severe question.

Staffers at The Post are losing patience with Bezos, whose only response to the Lewis disaster so far has been to send a 138-word, single-paragraph memo from his Mediterranean yachting vacation to a few leaders at The Post, assuring them that he wants standards to remain “very high.” That is the root of the problem, according to The Post staff. They, too, want standards to stay “very high” and are concerned that Lewis constitutes an active threat to that common goal.

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Jeff Bezos | Variety Image

Jeff Bezos Is Under Fire At The Washington Post As Patience Wears Thin Among Staffers

More drama occurred Friday when Lewis said that Robert Winnett, whom he had identified as the paper’s incoming editor, would not be coming to manage the Post. This comes after The Post published a 3,000-word front-page exposé this week, revealing that Winnett had previously utilized documents from a self-described “thief” for reporting.

Frustrations and concerns are so severe at the outlet that two of the institution’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists have chosen to come out publicly, pushing for a change in leadership, an unprecedented move at the venerable newspaper. David Maraniss, an associate editor at The Post for nearly 50 years, said he doesn’t “know a single person at the Post who thinks the current situation with the publisher and the supposed new editor can stand.” Scott Higham, who has been with The Post for over two decades, concurred and urged for Lewis’ dismissal.

“Will Lewis needs to step down for the good of The Post and the public,” Higham posted on Facebook. “He has lost the newsroom and will never win it back.”

To summarise, Maraniss and Higham express what many in the newsroom believe. In meetings with more than a dozen people inside and close to The Post this week, it became evident that Lewis, in his brief six months on the job, has completely alienated personnel and now confronts insurmountable odds in regaining the employee base he hopes to lead. Whether or not he has strong business ideas is irrelevant. He has lost the respect of his staff. And any successful leader will tell you that without the credibility to lead, it is impossible to accomplish anything, let alone perform a Herculean company revolution.

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Jeff Bezos | CNN Image

Jeff Bezos Is Under Fire At The Washington Post As Patience Wears Thin Among Staffers

Bezos’ spokeswoman did not reply to demands for comment on Thursday. But certainly, the millionaire realizes the grave predicament that has gripped The Post. And it’s hard to imagine he truly feels his brief memo to The Post’s leadership was sufficient to quell the worries that have sparked the extraordinary outrage at the newspaper. In fact, it’s worth noting that Bezos has not expressed support for Lewis recently, providing him options as he assesses the deteriorating situation and decides how to stop the bleeding.

Staff at The Post are eagerly awaiting Bezos’ action. Since Lewis’s fury flared earlier this month, CNN employees have repeatedly warned the outlet that the ongoing turmoil has diverted attention away from the newsroom’s essential job. With a high-stakes election just months away, it is far from ideal to have the attention of one of the country’s leading news organizations diverted by internal strife.

It’s “a massive distraction,” one Postie told me Thursday, adding that The Guardian’s eye-catching story accusing Lewis of allegedly advising then-U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “clean up” his phone amid the so-called “Partygate” controversies is “the talk of the newsroom.” (Both Lewis and Johnson refuted the story.)

“I don’t think the mood will change until something else changes,” the employee explained.

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Jeff Bezos | CNBC Image

Jeff Bezos Is Under Fire At The Washington Post As Patience Wears Thin Among Staffers

In Bezos’ absence, reports questioning Lewis’ ethical integrity continue to emerge. According to the Financial Times, Lewis “retains links” to a public relations agency that advises powerful corporate and political figures on negotiating difficult circumstances. While the FT reported that Lewis had sold his ownership part in the company, it also stated that the firm had “continued to distribute regular emails from Lewis,” producing “confusion among people in contact with the agency.”

While the FT’s Thursday story lacked the weight of other news outlets’ recent reports, it did raise new questions about Lewis’ past and entanglements.

Meanwhile, as The Post and other sources, including The New York Times, continue to investigate Lewis’ past, many more concerns will arise. And as the inquiries continue, those at The Post will undoubtedly have one in particular for Bezos: What are your plans for restoring your newspaper’s reputation and status?

SOURCE – (CNN)

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