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However, since the latest stake purchase, it has grown to a solid 240.3 million shares worth US$42.5 billion.

Longtime Berkshire board member Ron Olson told Yahoo Finance he thinks the new roles for Abel and Jain will take some pressure off of Buffett and make it easier for him to continue running Berkshire, which includes an eclectic mix of more than 90 companies. Apple is expected to be Berkshire's top position, and the biggest stake it's ever held in another company, and it puts Berkshire third in line behind Vanguard.

While Buffett "very much" approves of Apple repurchasing shares, he and Munger expressed skepticism that Apple could find meaningful acquisitions on which to spend cash.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) is holding its 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska Saturday starting at 9:45 a.m. ET.

Even after the Apple investment, Berkshire's holdings of cash and equivalents was $108.6 billion, the company said on Saturday. Moreover, he also said that if you look at the company, it probably earns almost twice as much as the 2nd most profitable firm in the US.

Buffett himself said that operating results are a better gauge of performance due to excluding unrealised (or "paper") gains and losses.

Buffett has praised Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and suggested he views Apple more as a consumer company, despite its Silicon Valley pedigree.




Morgan Stanley analyst Kai Pan wonders why once tech-stock-shy Buffett thinks the investment in Apple will turn out better than his admitted mistake buying IBM.

"I love the idea of having our 5% or whatever it may be grow" to 7% or more "without us laying out a dime", Buffett said.

But Berkshire also ended a long stretch of disappointing operating performance, posting record operating profit as insurance rebounded from a hard quarter while economic growth bolstered results in railroad, industrial and consumer businesses.

The meeting gives shareholders a chance to evaluate Buffett and Munger's health for themselves, said Andy Kilpatrick, who has followed Berkshire for years while writing and updating "Of Permanent Value: The Story of Warren Buffett".

Berkshire's railroad, utilities and energy businesses reported a 31 percent increase in profit during the first quarter.

Apple stock rose 3.9 percent Friday as Warren Buffett revealed that his company, Berkshire Hathaway, bought an additional 75 million shares.

The accounting change required Berkshire to report unrealised losses in its equity portfolio, which totalled $US170.5 billion at year end, regardless of whether it planned to sell those stocks. The shares closed up 3.9% at $183.83 on Friday.


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