Warren Buffett Bought Apple's Stock 'More Than Anything Else' Last Year

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Buffett has offered no apologies for alleged predatory lending practices of Clayton Homes, a company his company owns, and Berkshire Hathaway continued to invest in Wells Fargo amid what the Fed described as "widespread consumer abuses and compliance breakdowns". And sometimes I will make expensive mistakes.

"Bottom line", said Jim Shanahan, an analyst at Edward Jones who covers Berkshire, "you've got a letter that was short".

"Were we to need the management structure I have just described on an immediate basis, our directors know my recommendations for both posts", he wrote, adding that all candidates now work for or are available to Berkshire.

With only five multi-billion-dollar acquisitions since 2012 and just one past year - a $5 billion stake in Pilot Travel Centers - the money pouring into Berkshire's accounts has swollen Buffett's buyout-bat to $116 billion in cash and short-term U.S. Treasury bills at the end of 2017.

"After all, even a high-priced deal will usually boost per-share earnings if it is debt-financed", he added. "In the meantime, we will stick with our simple guideline: The less the prudence with which others conduct their affairs, the greater the prudence with which we must conduct our own".

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway's insurance operations have recorded 14 consecutive years of underwriting profit worth more than $28 billion.

He noted that having billions in idle cash didn't stop Berkshire's stock price from gaining past year.

Buffett also said that while Berkshire's insurance holdings would take a US$2 billion after-tax hit from losses caused by hurricanes previous year in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico, other reinsurance companies did far worse. He said Berkshire Hathaway's exposure to the three hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico last September will be $2 billion after taxes. Buffett briefly mentioned that move in two paragraphs at the very end of his letter.

Several of Berkshire's other biggest stock holdings have been held for decades.

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"He didn't say a lot about succession".

The reason? "I'm out of touch".

Longtime insurance executive Ajit Jain has been in charge of overseeing coverage against giant or unusual risks.

One thing that always strikes me when Warren Buffett talks about Berkshire is how much of a salesman he is.

While the Wells Fargo investment has struggled in recent months because of scandals over how it treats customers, Apple has performed better.

In 2007, Buffett made a $1 million bet with Protégé Partners that an S&P 500 index fund would outperform a group of 5 fund-of-hedge funds. One of Buffett's favorite charities, Girls Inc. of Omaha, received $2.2 million as a result of the bet.

One goal is to reduce the growth of health care costs, now at 18 percent of the national economy, Buffett said.

Buffett concluded with a little advice to fellow investors: "Though markets are generally rational, they occasionally do insane things".

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