Warren Buffett Southwest Airlines Takeover? Possible, Analysts Say

In a possible sign that succession planning is on Mr Buffett's mind, he noted that senior investment managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler each managed more than $US10 billion of Berkshire's investments.

Revenue rose 18 percent to $4.23 billion, mainly from the sale of 42,075 homes, equal to 5 percent of all new American homes, Buffett said.

In his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, Buffett said investors "will nearly certainly do well" by staying with the long term with a "collection of large, conservatively financed American businesses".

The company also owns dozens of stocks including Apple Inc, Coca-Cola Co, Wells Fargo & Co and the four biggest USA airlines, and more than one-fourth of Kraft Heinz Co.

"Both large and small investors should stick with low-priced index funds", he added.

While Buffett is widely known as a gifted stock picker, Berkshire derives most of its income from the businesses he's bought during his five decades running the firm.

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The Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate - which owns The Press of Atlantic City - released its latest results Saturday along with Buffett's annual letter to shareholders.

Berkshire on Saturday also said fourth-quarter profit rose 15 percent from a year earlier, as gains from investments and derivatives offset lower profit from the BNSF railroad and other units.

Unlike last year's letter, when the longtime Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter took the opportunity to say he thought the country was in much better shape than some presidential candidates made it sound, Buffett mostly steered clear of politics this year.

Berkshire said it had previously classified such Treasury bills as cash equivalents, noting that they are highly liquid and not that sensitive to interest-rate changes.

Buffett, a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, did not mention U.S. President Donald Trump by name in his letter.

"One word sums up our country's achievements: miraculous", Buffett said.

  • Desiree Holland