In his latest Berkshire Hathaway Annual Letter 2022, Warren Buffett says, “Today, though, we find little that excites us.” This would explain why he’s currently holding $144 Billion in cash and cash equivalents. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:
Berkshire’s balance sheet includes $144 billion of cash and cash equivalents (excluding the holdings of BNSF and BHE). Of this sum, $120 billion is held in U.S. Treasury bills, all maturing in less than a year. That stake leaves Berkshire financing about 1⁄2 of 1% of the publicly-held national debt.
Charlie and I have pledged that Berkshire (along with our subsidiaries other than BNSF and BHE) will always hold more than $30 billion of cash and equivalents. We want your company to be financially impregnable and never dependent on the kindness of strangers (or even that of friends). Both of us like to sleep soundly, and we want our creditors, insurance claimants and you to do so as well.
But $144 billion?
That imposing sum, I assure you, is not some deranged expression of patriotism. Nor have Charlie and I lost our overwhelming preference for business ownership. Indeed, I first manifested my enthusiasm for that 80 years ago, on March 11, 1942, when I purchased three shares of Cities Services preferred stock. Their cost was $114.75 and required all of my savings. (The Dow Jones Industrial Average that day closed at 99, a fact that should scream to you: Never bet against America.)
After my initial plunge, I always kept at least 80% of my net worth in equities. My favored status throughout that period was 100% – and still is. Berkshire’s current 80%-or-so position in businesses is a consequence of my failure to find entire companies or small portions thereof (that is, marketable stocks) which meet our criteria for longterm holding.
Charlie and I have endured similar cash-heavy positions from time to time in the past. These periods are never pleasant; they are also never permanent. And, fortunately, we have had a mildly attractive alternative during 2020 and 2021 for deploying capital. Read on…
You can read the entire letter here:
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