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Author: markreisman One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 227186  
Subject: Re: Buffett losses betting against US dollar Date: 4/30/2005 11:15 PM
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As Buffett explained at the meeting, the $310 million "loss" is due to the fact that the accounting rules require Berkshire to mark the investment to market each quarter, even though the investment has not been sold during the quarter. Buffett noted that when the PG/Gillette merger closes, Berkshire will be forced to book a $4 billion "gain" even though Buffett intends to hold onto the PG stock after the merger. In other words, these "losses" and "gains" are artificial. The decision to terminate the currency contracts should not be made based on reporting requirements; it should be made based on the fundamentals (which Buffett feels strongly about) and on whether a currency bet is appropriate (Buffett and Munger apparently disagree on this, as they suggested during the meeting.)

I thought it was much more significant that Buffett expressed his surprise at how well the businesses did during the quarter. In particular, it sounds like Geico is doing particularly well.

A 5-10 billion investment will not be enough to exhaust the cash. Berkshire is apparently sitting on about $45 billion in cash at the moment. For this reason, Buffett expressed the most willingness to date to consider a dividend if in a couple of years a meltdown in stocks has not occurred.

By the way, I thought the meeting was the best that I have attended since 1999. It made me proud to be a Berkshire owner. I would be interested in others' comments.


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