Buffett Opines on Green Shoots, Inflation, Apple Disclosure, and Bernanke (BRK.A, BRK.B, WFC, AAPL)

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Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A) (NYSE: BRK.B) just gave an interview to CNBC’s Becky Quick ahead of the “Power Lunch” segment.  As far as green shoots in the economy, Buffett said he is just not seeing any.  He even joked about having cataract surgery being a month ago and he still can’t see green shoots.  He noted the weakness in retail and manufacturing, and said demand is “down like we’ve never seen it.”

Buffett also keyed on some issues around Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) and even on the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) disclosure.

The good news is that Buffett said it will happen for green shoots, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Buffett also noted that Washington is doing things on a lot of fronts, but hasn’t had much impact on jobs. He sees unemployment heading higher and thinks it will have a lag to the economy.  He then went on to say that the jobs situation is now the largest issue in the economy now that the banking crisis seems over.

On Bernanke and a second term.. “I don’t see how you could do better.”

Buffett also said he does not worry about deflation and won’t see it in any size during our lifetimes.  But on the notion of inflation, he thinks we could see a lot of inflation down the road because we have pumped so much cash into the system.

As far as the TARP money on the Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC), Buffett said that is not part of the thought behind his investment.  He does wish the warrants weren’t a part of it, but that isn’t a part of his decision to stay invested either way.

On the Steve Jobs from on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) disclosure, he thinks that the company should have disclosed the data about Steve Jobs’ liver transplant and illness.  He said if he ever has a major procedure, he’d disclose it to holders ahead of time.  As he noted, shareholders will find out anyway.

Jon C. Ogg
June 24, 2009

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