Why has Warren Buffett Gone Quiet in the Market?

Last year, Warren Buffett resisted pressure to buy back Berkshire Hathaway stock, pay a dividend or “be more aggressive with investments,” a strategy that seems to be paying off. This according to a recent Barron’s article. 

“Instead, Buffett let cash build on Berkshire’s balance sheet,” the article notes. “With some $128 billion in cash and equivalents on hand, he stood poised to capitalize as the markets imploded in March.”

The 89-year-old investing legend has been quiet of late, the article says, and investors may have to wait for the virtual Berkshire annual meeting on May 2 to hear from him. Meanwhile, it says, Berkshire fans “view the stock as attractive and are hoping that Buffett scooped up a lot of Berkshire’s own shares as well as distressed stocks during the recent selloff.”

Berkshire stock is down 14.5% this year, the article reports, reflecting Buffett’s disastrous bet on the airline industry and a $10 billion preferred stock investment in Occidental Petroleum that is “looking dicey as oil prices and Occidental’s share price slump.” But the firms stake in Apple remains a big winner, as the firm is “sitting on profits of about $30 billion, or nearly double its cost,” the article reports.

The article cites a recent comment from investor Bill Ackman: “Berkshire will emerge from this crisis as a more valuable enterprise, as the market decline will enable it to invest a substantial portion of its cash in investments that will accelerate its long-term growth in intrinsic value.”