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Banking Turmoil, Housing Pressure, and Buffett’s Big Bets: Top 10 Insights from Industry Experts

Ahead of Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting, five experts on Warren Buffett’s company shared their thoughts on some of the investor’s key bets, as well as the challenging state of the US banking sector and the housing market. Their insights span from bank mismanagement to potential bargains in the housing sector and the value of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Here are the top 10 quotes from these industry experts, edited for length and clarity:

  1. “I classify it as a carnival, a rock concert, and a cult – all three.” (Describing Berkshire’s annual event.)
  2. “The banks screwed up. If you have $260,000 in a bank, I would be worried. If I were you, I’d take the $10,000 out!” (Suggesting there’s no need to exceed the FDIC’s $250,000 limit on deposit insurance.)
  3. “I think the stock goes from $17 to $50. I think Apple buys them.” (Discussing Paramount, a recent Berkshire investment, and suggesting Buffett might be anticipating a merger with Apple, his biggest holding.)
  4. “There’s so much negativity out there. When everybody gets fearful, predicting dire consequences, we think that gives you the opportunity.” (Describing the recent banking turmoil as a “difficult crisis period.”)
  5. “The housing sector has gotten hurt pretty badly. There are so many bargains in that sector. When the recovery comes, we think they’re well-positioned to do very well.” (Highlighting ADT and First American Financial as two stock picks.)
  6. “We had all our eggs in one basket. As Charlie Munger says, the stock market shouldn’t be like Noah’s Ark, where you own two of everything.” (Explaining a firm’s decision to launch a private equity fund.)
  7. “Berkshire Hathaway Energy is going to become a powerhouse over the next decade. If it had a motto, it would probably read, ‘Milk me later.'” (Underscoring the steady growth in profits at the utility business.)
  8. “Well intended, but it’s really stupid. They should probably stick to their own knitting.” (On shareholder proposals arguing Buffett shouldn’t be both CEO and chairman of Berkshire, and the company should compile and publish energy-usage information from all of its subsidiaries.)
  9. “Berkshire is the best bank in the world.” (Underscoring the value of Berkshire to its subsidiaries, and noting that if See’s Candies held onto its excess profits instead of sending them to Buffett to allocate, it would have invested them poorly and become a “terrible business.”)
  10. “I tell all my Chinese friends — for the benefit of the country, go make love.” (Joking about the depressed birth rate in China.)