This past weekend, financial mogul Warren Buffett spoke at Berkshire Hathaway‘s (NYSE:BRK.A, NYSE:BRK.B) Annual Meeting for shareholders. As CEO of the company, many people were interested in what Buffett had to say regarding his investments and response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Additionally, Berkshire Hathaway also reported its first quarter financial results on Saturday morning — giving investors a better picture at the company overall.
This year’s Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting was different than others in previous years simply due to outbreak, and Buffett addressed this fact right out of the gate.
“It doesn’t look like an annual meeting and it doesn’t feel exactly like an annual meeting. It particularly doesn’t feel like an annual meeting because Charlie Munger, my partner of 60 years, is not sitting up here,” he said in his opening statement. “I think most of the people that come to our meeting really come to listen to Charlie but I want to assure you, Charlie at 96 is in fine shape.”
Although it was different, Buffett had plenty to say about the state of stocks and the overall American economy. That said, here are three quotes from the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting that carry plenty of weight.
Warren Buffett Quotes: Oracle of Omaha Out on Airlines
Many industries have been battered down due to the coronavirus, but airline stocks have taken a beating over the last few months. In fact, Buffett believes the entire industry has altered because of this situation.
“I don’t envy anybody the with the job of being CEO of an airline,” he said. “The airline business changed in a very major way. The future is much less clear to me about how the business will turn out … the world changed for airlines, and I wish them well, but it’s one of the businesses we have businesses we own directly that are going to be hurt.”
Moreover, the situation has become so awful that Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway has left his investments in the four largest U.S. airlines: American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL), Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) and United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL). “When we sell something, very often it’s going to be our entire stake completely, we don’t trim positions,” he said.
Buffett Talks Coronavirus Impact
As I mentioned above, there have been countless companies and sectors affected due to the coronavirus pandemic. And while there are plenty of experts and medical workers on the front lines trying to get life back to normal, Buffett believes the pandemic will shape how America and the world moves on in the future.
“The virus is going to determine our behavior. We’re doing a lot of smart things, and we’ve got a lot of very smart people, but there are unknowns. And the unknowns that apply in the health aspect create unknowns in the economy,” he said. “We will have to keep evaluating things as we go along. I hope that once suppressed that it doesn’t come back, and that we readjust.”
Buffett: “Never Bet Against America”
During his speech at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Buffett touched on a handful of topics ranging from the coronavirus and oil to small businesses and stock buybacks. That said, the main topics of discussion seemed to be overall market sentiment and how the country would recover from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
On this subject, Buffett believes in the resiliency of the country and its citizens — and says America will recover.
“Nothing can stop America when you come down to it, even with the scariest of scenarios. It may have been tested during the Great Depression, and it may be tested now to some degree. In the end the answer is never bet against America. That in my view is true today as it was in 1789 and even was true during the Civil War and depths of the depression,” Buffett said. “In 2020, we are now a better country as well as an incredibly more wealthy country than we were in 1789.”
Nick Clarkson is a web editor at InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.