An in-person meeting by Buffett later today is only the second such meeting since 2019.
Like always, investors world over are looking forward to the meeting as Buffett and his good old friend Charlie Munger, who is the vice chairman of the world’s 6th most valuable company, will answer a plethora of questions from stakeholders.
The meeting is happening at a time when the company is preparing a succession plan for the 92-year old Buffett.
So, here’s listing the key monitorables for shareholders at the meeting later today:
* Buffett Successor
Berkshire’s vice chairman for non-insurance operations, Greg Abel, is widely expected to succeed Buffet as the CEO of the company, according to reports. While Buffett no longer takes major investment decisions at the company, investors will still look forward to hearing the succession plan and strategy hereon.
* US Banking Crisis
The collapse of 3 major American banks in just 2 months has shook investors and dented their confidence in the banking system despite several reassurances given by the government and the Federal Reserve.
“We’re not through with bank failures,” Buffett had said in a recent interview while reassuring that depositors have no reason to worry.
Stakeholders and investors will look to hear out Buffett’s assessment of the crisis and if there is more pain left.
* Rate trajectory for 2023
While the banking crisis is the central point of discussion in America, the concerns around inflation and interest rates are far from over.
Buffett and Munger’s assessment of the US economy and their view on the interest rate trajectory will also be closely tracked by investors.
* Berkshire’s growth in 2023 and beyond
According to estimates by investment technology firm Visible Alpha, Berkshire’s total revenue for the first quarter ended March is likely to have grown 22% on year to $83.8 billion. Net income is expected to rise a whopping 52% on year to $8.32 billion. Berkshire’s return on equity is expected to be 6.8%, up from 4.57% in the same period last year.
Projections for growth in 2023 and beyond is something shareholders will look for from Buffett.
* Buffett-Bill Gates ties
On the eve of the annual shareholder meeting, a prominent conservative advocacy group is calling for Buffett’s ouster because of his long ties to fellow billionaire Bill Gates, whose private foundation supports gender equality, among other issues, Bloomberg reported.
* Investments in HP/OXY
Investors would want to know more on Berkshire’s recent two major bets on HP Inc and Occidental Petroleum in the last quarter.
Buffett’s firm invested $4.2 billion in HP Inc in the last quarter. Berkshire’s largest holding in recent years has been in fellow technology firm Apple Inc, and the holding in HP now takes over the iPhone maker.
As of 2022-end, Berkshire Hathaway’s largest stock holding at $119 billion was in Apple Inc for 5.7% stake. Apple accounts for 39% of Berkshire’s total stock portfolio.
Meanwhile, Berkshire raised its stake further in Occidental Petroleum in March, bringing its ownership to 22.2%.
* Energy Market Outlook
Crude oil prices have been volatile in the last 1 year. Shareholders will, therefore, want to hear Buffett and Munger’s outlook on the energy industry following its recent investment in Occidental Petroleum.
* Eye on Japan
While Berkshire’s majority investments are into domestic firms, the company very recently raised its stake in several Japanese trading firms. Trading firms in Japan are akin to large conglomerates having businesses across varied segments.
According to reports, Buffett raised stake to 7.4% from 5% in five trading houses – Itochu Corp, Marubeni Corp, Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsui & Co, and Sumitomo Corp.
Investors and stakeholders would want to know the rationale behind this and Buffett’s view on the Japanese economy.
* Investment mantra
The Buffett style of investment is far popular among the investor community, and therefore, the meeting will be incomplete if the billionaire investor doesn’t share some tips and advice to investors.
There are aplenty concerns for investors in terms of the banking crisis, an impending recession, rate hikes, and growth slowdown.
So, Buffett’s piece of wisdom at the annual meeting is definitely something that investors will look forward to.
(Disclaimer: Recommendations, suggestions, views and opinions given by the experts are their own. These do not represent the views of Economic Times)