Warren Buffett sold all his airline stocks amid coronavirus

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and billionaire value investor Warren Buffett said that the conglomerate has sold the entirety of its equity position in the U.S. airline industry,” according to CNBC. “The prior stake, worth north of $4 billion dollars in December, included positions in UnitedAmericanSouthwest and Delta Airlines.

“’The world has changed for the airlines. And I don’t know how it’s changed and I hope it corrects itself in a reasonably prompt way,’ he said during Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting Saturday, which was virtual this year. ‘I don’t know if Americans have now changed their habits or will change their habits because of the extended period.’

“But ‘I think there are certain industries, and unfortunately, I think that the airline industry, among others, that are really hurt by a forced shutdown by events that are far beyond our control,’ he added.

“Demand for air travel has plunged since March as the virus and precautions like shelter-in-place orders keep potential passengers home. Asked by CNBC’s Becky Quick to clarify if Berkshire had sold all of its airline holdings, Buffett answered ‘yes.’

“He explained: ‘When we sell something, very often it’s going to be our entire stake: We don’t trim positions. That’s just not the way we approach it any more than if we buy 100% of a business. We’re going to sell it down to 90% or 80%.’

“’If we like a business, we’re going to buy as much of it as we can and keep it as long as we can,’ he added. ‘And when we change our mind we don’t take half measures.”

“Buffett reiterated that he admires the airlines and their management teams, but that sometimes there are events like the coronavirus calamity ‘on the lower levels of probabilities that happen’ that necessitate a quick change to an investment.”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

3 thoughts on “Warren Buffett sold all his airline stocks amid coronavirus”

  1. A couple of years back Warren bet on the choochoo. 31 billion or so. It is about to pay off hugely. I suspect USA will build two routes, Northern and Southern, across the country, of very high speed rail, for passengers. The cars will be capable of swapping out unused seating for cargo modules, to handle FEDEX like service. Interurban service like once connected Sacto & Yuba City, the Red Cars of LA, to the beaches, and of course BART will be expanded and revived everywhere. To see the future, look to the past, at the The Western Railway Museum, in Solano County, California is located on Highway 12 between Rio Vista and Suisun. The museum is built along the former mainline of the Sacramento Northern Railway. Their collection focuses on trolleys, as it is primarily a museum of interurban transit equipment. Wikipedia

  2. That’s optimistic! Berkshire’s BNSF is expected to report that rail traffic declined during the first quarter, according to data from the Association of American Railroads and Bloomberg Intelligence.

  3. He’s a very down to earth man. My Dad met him several times and although he didn’t like his politics (Dad was a republican) he did enjoy their short visits.

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