Warren Buffett, who turns 93, is at the top of his game as he pushes Berkshire Hathaway to new heights

by | Aug 30, 2023 | Financial

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.David A. Grogan | CNBCWarren Buffett took control of Berkshire Hathaway in 1965, and nearly six decades later as the “Oracle of Omaha” turned 93 Wednesday, his conglomerate is stronger today than it’s ever been.Berkshire shares have roared back to an all-time high on record operating profit, making it the biggest non-tech company by market capitalization. Buffett has been extremely active in the past year, wooing his followers by a slew of astute moves from buying underappreciated Japanese stocks to navigating a surge in interest rates skillfully.”He’s still at the top of his game. His mental acuity is sharp as ever,” said David Kass, a finance professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, who once held private lunches for his students and Buffett.Loading chart…Buffett stood out as one of the only few investors who managed to take advantage of higher rates, thanks to his mountain of cash — $147 billion at the end of June. His massive cash pile, which had been an area of concern at times, is now earning him a substantial return with short-term rates topping 5%.Meanwhile, the legendary investor has been leaning on his favorite stock Apple, which has now taken up half of Berkshire’s equity portfolio after its 40% rally this year. Buffett likens the iPhone maker to a consumer products company and has said he is also attracted to its big buyback programs. His Apple bet has made Berkshire well over $100 billion since 2016.’Groundbreaking’ investmentBuffett also added to his stakes in five Japanese trading houses earlier this year, a bet that made Chamath Palihapitiya call him “the GOAT.” Buffett even traveled to Japan with his successor Greg Abel, his first time in more than 11 years, to meet with the heads at these firms to emphasize his support.”It’s groundbreaking in the sense that I’m not aware of any prominent investor, hedge manager investing in Japan,” Kass said. “The country is in a deflationary environment for decades, and these companies were just sitting out there being ignored.”Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Sumitomo have a conglomerate structure just like Berkshire, and they have been stable dividend payers and earning growers. Social Capital’s Palihapitiya said what makes the trade so brilliant is how Buffett is able to hedg …

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