Berkshire's Buffett and Munger meet with media

AP News
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Posted: May 01, 2011 8:10 PM
Berkshire's Buffett and Munger meet with media

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett and vice chairman Charlie Munger answered reporters' questions for nearly three hours Sunday.

Here is a sample of their comments on a variety of topics:

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INVESTING OVERSEAS

A stream of international reporters again asked Buffett and Munger whether Berkshire would be interested in investing in their home countries. Both said they're definitely willing to invest in other countries, including India, Japan, China, Taiwan, Germany and elsewhere if they find the right opportunity.

They said Berkshire doesn't operate by identifying an industry or country to invest in before looking at companies.

"We're looking for good ideas anyplace," Buffett said.

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PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Buffett and Munger don't have much faith in businessman Donald Trump's chances of becoming president.

Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger were asked about Trump's presidential ambitions at a news conference Sunday.

"Obviously, I think he is a jerk," said Munger, who is known for his blunt approach

Buffett said simply that he doesn't believe Trump will be the next president of the United States.

Buffett is a Democrat who supported President Barack Obama in 2008, but Munger is a Republican like Trump.

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INDIA

Buffett said Berkshire would be crazy not to look for investment opportunities in India because of its size and economic strength.

"It's of enormous interest to us as a market," Buffett said.

Munger said the problem is that India seems to have adopted more of the western world's vices than its virtues. Munger said India's bloated bureaucracy and widespread bribery are slowing the country's economic growth.

"That is a country with a lot of dysfunction in it," Munger said.

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US GROWTH PROSPECTS

The United States will continue to prosper for many years to come, Buffett said, but the pace of growth will be faster in developing countries that are starting from a lower base.

Buffett said there's almost no chance that per capita income won't continue growing in the United States, but the country's share of the world's wealth will decline.

"That's good. We don't want to be an island of prosperity," Buffett said. Especially when other nations have nuclear weapons.

Munger agreed.

"We'll do better, but the rest of the world will do better faster," Munger said.

But just because other countries are growing faster, Munger said that doesn't mean those countries are better places to invest.