Apple should buy back shares: Warren Buffett

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Warren Buffett has been buying a lot of Apple shares recently, saying that he would buy even more at the right price.

Berkshire owns confectionary See's Candy which it bought in 1972 for $25 million.

The accounting change required Berkshire to report $6.2 billion of unrealized losses in its marketable stock portfolio, which totaled $170.5 billion at year end, regardless of whether it planned to sell those stocks. Buffett said the investment "has been being doing so well lately". The company also has major investments in such companies as American Express, IBM and Wells Fargo & Co.

Likening bitcoin demand to tulip mania in 17th century Holland, Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, said the mystique behind the cryptocurrency has produced a surge in its price.

"They are not going to find $50 billion or $100 billion acquisitions that they can make at remotely a sensible price", ReCode quoted Buffett as saying at the company's annual meeting held at Omaha city in the U.S. state of Nebraska.

"I'm delighted to see them repurchasing shares".

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected operating earnings of $2.08. He said that it is an "unbelievable company" that "earns nearly twice as much as the second most profitable company in the United States". That's up from $3.6 billion, or about $1.78 per B share, a year ago.

Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway's Vice Chairman stated during the meeting about trading in digital assets as "just dementia".

"The United States and China are going to be the two superpowers of the world, economically and in other ways, for a long, long, long time", Buffett said. Pre-tax underwriting gains almost quadrupled, as it sold more policies despite having raised rates, while the rate of policyholder losses fell.

BNSF railroad added $1.1 billion to Berkshire's profit, up from $838 million a year ago.

Pretax profit at industrial businesses such as Precision Castparts rose 32 percent, while lower taxes helped boost profit at the Berkshire Hathaway Energy unit by 22 percent.