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Though festive in years past, this year's event may prove to have a more serious tone. We've had a historic period in financial markets since mid-2007 or so, and this has included very poor results for Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire shareholders aren't used to a 40% decline in the market value of their investment, but that's what they've had since both the Class A and Class B shares peaked in late 2007. In 2008, Berkshire had the largest one-year decline in book value per share in its history.
We believe the annual meeting this year will include spirited discussion of some of the factors that led to the difficult results in 2008, how Berkshire managed those issues, and what Berkshire's leaders are planning along those lines in the years ahead. And although it might make the meeting less interesting for casual observers, the new rule that all questions must relate to Berkshire could help make this meeting the most valuable in years for shareholders.
If you can't make the pilgrimage this year, be sure to tune in to Morningstar.com for pre-meeting commentary all this week and on-the-ground coverage in Omaha this weekend. We'll bring you on-the-spot article, blog, and video reports featuring commentary from Morningstar Berkshire analyst Bill Bergman, director of equity research Pat Dorsey, equities strategist and StockInvestor
editor Paul Larson, and conference attendees. Plus, stay tuned to Morningstar next week for coverage of the Value Investing Congress in Pasadena.
How Are Berkshire's Operating Companies Holding Up?
Berkshire subsidiary BoatU.S., which offers boating insurance and towing services, has been cushioned somewhat as customers hit the water for a reality break.
Pampered Chef's Recipe for a Downturn
Morningstar's Pampered Chef CEO Marla Gottschalk says the Berkshire subsidiary's home-party selling model is resonating in the current downturn.
Morningstar's Question for Buffett and Munger
Morningstar's Bill Bergman had the first question in Sunday's press conference.
Where the Berkshire Advantage Comes From
Morningstar's Pat Dorsey and fund manager Larry Coats recap the annual meeting's points on the firm's business model and competitive advantages.
Unpacking the Oracle's Insights
Morningstar's Pat Dorsey and Paul Larson offer their take on Berkshire's derivatives exposure, real estate outlook, consumer spending pessimism.
What to Look for in Berkshire Earnings
Morningstar analyst Bill Bergman comments on Buffett's Berkshire annual meeting earnings preview.
Why Buffett Bought My Business
Retired R.C. Wiley CEO Bill Child discusses Berkshire's purchase of his family's home furnishings store in 1995.
Did Berkshire Disappoint?
Shareholders gathered for Berkshire's annual meeting offer their take on the firm's rough 2008 and future return potential.
Berkshire Analyst Blog
Get live commentary from Berkshire analyst Bill Bergman as the meeting unfolds on Saturday, May 2. Plus, post your comments, questions, and feedback for Bill.
Seven Buffett-Inspired Funds We Believe In
These funds closely follow the Oracle of Omaha's tenets.
Sequoia Still Has What It Takes
The Buffett-inspired Sequoia Fund recently added stakes (albeit small ones) in three new names. Click for our latest Analyst Report
on the fund.
Buffett Goes Where Others Fear to Tread
Is Buffett's foray into muni bond insurance a source of concern for Berkshire?
Inside Berkshire's Equity Portfolio
Declining stock prices dented Berkshire's reported capital position last year, but we're bullish about the long-term prospects of the conglomerate's stock holdings.
Being Like Buffett May Mean Parting Ways with Him
Why the Buffett-inspired Fairholme Fund just ditched Berkshire Hathaway.
Berkshire Annual Meeting Preview
Saturday's event could be the most valuable in years for Berkshire shareholders.
A More Somber Woodstock?
This year's Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting will come on the heels of a tough year for the conglomerate.
Buffett's Own Beige Book
Dozens of subsidiaries give Berkshire a great read on the economy, but is this sensitivity a concern?
Berkshire Hathaway Analyst Report
Get Morningstar analyst Bill Bergman's latest report, fair value estimate, consider buying/selling prices, and more.
Warren Buffett's Comments on Option Investing
The Oracle of Omaha has been writing puts.
Recent Rating Changes at Berkshire
We believe the reasons cited by S&P and Fitch for their ratings changes focus too closely on backward-looking factors.
The Upshot on Berkshire's Downgrade
) | 03-13-09
Does Fitch's lowered rating matter?
Berkshire in Peril?
) | 03-06-09
Credit default swap spreads have been suggesting a gloomy outlook for Buffett's holding company, but there's much more to the story.
Berkshire 2008 Results on Par
Even after a hard 2008, Berkshire's financial strength continues as a source of significant value.
Some Insights from Berkshire's Latest 13-F Filing
We see opportunity arising from recent weakness in Berkshire's equity portfolio.
Warren Buffett: Morningstar's 2008 CEO of the Year
Why the investing legend earned the nod for 2008's award.