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Archive for March, 2009

The renowned investor Warren E. Buffett chided himself and the business world at large in his annual letter to shareholders of his holding company on Saturday as he sifted through the wreckage of his worst year in four decades.Mr. Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, reported a 62 percent drop in net income for 2008 and posted a decline in book value per share for only the second time since he took control in 1965. Shares of the company, which peaked in late 2007 at more than $148,000 apiece, closed Friday at $78,600.

With characteristic candor, Mr. Buffett, 78, took the blame for some of the declines, stating that he “did some dumb things,” lamenting in particular an ill-timed bet on oil and the purchase of shares in two Irish banks, which have fared poorly. But he also needled regulators and an assortment of unnamed chief executives as he predicted that fallout from the credit crisis would leave the stock market a shambles through 2009.

The letter, as ever, gives shareholders an overview of Berkshire’s annual performance, but it also doubles as a folksy state-of-the-economy address from Mr. Buffett, one of the country’s most revered investors.…Continue Reading

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American International Group Inc posted a $61.7 billion quarterly loss, the biggest in corporate history, and reached a new government bailout deal after officials concluded the insurer was too big to be allowed to fail.

AIG, which got $150 billion of taxpayer aid last year, will get access to up to $30 billion of new government capital.

The new bailout avoids for now any crippling credit rating downgrades that could force AIG to come up with billions of dollars that it might not have.

“Given the systemic risk AIG continues to pose and the fragility of markets today, the potential cost to the economy and the taxpayer of government inaction would be extremely high,” the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve said in a joint statement.…Continue Reading

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