Warren Buffett's vows that the United States will recover from coronavirus

Warren Buffett's vows that the United States will recover from coronavirus

Saturday, Warren Buffett said he gave an optimistic assessment of the capability of the U.s to survive crises, even as he admitted that the coronavirus epidemic may have a wide range of economic effects.

The 89-year-old Buffett spoke at the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway Inc in Omaha, Nebraska, which was held practically for first time because of the epidemic, without shareholders. Yahoo Finance have streamed the meeting.

Buffett said the possible effects of the epidemic had a "extraordinarily wide" spectrum that has already ravaged the world economy.

Yet he retained his normal confidence that the US would effectively weather it, citing its recovery from disasters like World War Two and the influenza epidemic a century ago.

“This is quite an experiment,” Buffett said. “I remain convinced ... that nothing can basically stop America.”

The annual meeting started few hours after Berkshire announced a record first-quarter net loss of $49.75 billion, representing massive unrealized losses on common stock assets such as Bank of America Corp and Apple Inc during the crisis.

Though quarterly operating profit increased by 6 percent, many larger firms like the BNSF railroad reported declines, and Berkshire said that several of its more than 90 firms are facing "severe" negative effects from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

As of March 31, Buffett also let Berkshire's cash stake rise to $137.3 billion, reflecting the problem of finding the right places to invest.

The meeting is empty of the accompanying three-day picnic, shopping and other celebration activities that attract tens of thousands of people to Omaha every year for what Buffett terms "Woodstock for Capitalists."

At the meeting Buffett is supposed to address questions from shareholders.

He is joined by Vice Chairman Greg Abel, 57, who oversees Berkshire's non-insurance undertakings on a regular basis, and is considered a top contender by many analysts and investors to potentially succeed Buffett as Chief Executive.

Image: Buffett said the potential impact of the pandemic, which has already battered the global economy, had a extraordinarily wide range. (Credit: AFP Photo)