By Ben Berkowitz
(Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway Inc is adding to its shareholdings of two U.S. companies amid a market dip, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said on Monday.
Buffett, Berkshire’s controlling shareholder, also forecast record results this year for Berkshire’s largest non-insurance businesses, among the railroad BNSF and utility MidAmerican.
Berkshire class B shares led the insurance sector to close 1.9 percent higher at $82.47 on Monday.
In an interview on cable television network CNBC from just outside his conglomerate’s home base in Omaha, Nebraska, he dismissed the dip in European shares after weekend elections in France and Greece.
“It’s going to be very, very difficult to resolve their problems,” he said of the euro zone countries, but he insisted they would do so eventually.
Buffett declined to identify the two portfolio stocks Berkshire was purchasing more of. He said Berkshire spent $60 million buying stocks last Friday and would buy more on Monday. It was not clear if the $60 million was spent on just two stocks.
Over the weekend, Berkshire held its annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, a festival that draws nearly 40,000 people for an hours-long question-and-answer session with Buffett and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger.
It was during that session that Buffett revealed he had very nearly made an acquisition of more than $22 billion recently, which would have been one of his biggest ever.
The 81-year-old Buffett, recently diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, spent much of the day assuring shareholders he was in good health.
Barclays Capital analyst Jay Gelb, who participated in one of the Q-and-A panels, said in a note to clients Monday that Berkshire appeared to be worth at least $118 per class B share.
While Buffett has his acolytes, not everyone was impressed with his performance. Australian hedge fund manager John Hempton, in a post on his blog on Saturday, said the day was full of the usual questions on politics, economics and the like.
“I got all this — and for the most part I got the usual homily answers. (The same questions were asked last year and the year before and the year before that. Answers can be got from meeting notes),” Hempton wrote.
During the CNBC interview, Buffett reiterated his support for Wal-Mart Stores Inc, saying a scandal over bribe payments in Mexico did not change his opinion of the stock. He is Wal-Mart’s fifth-largest shareholder.
(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz; additional reporting by Lauren Tara LaCapra; Editing by John Wallace and Phil Berlowitz)berkshire, Warren Buffett