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Buffett firm exits airline stocks amid $49bn loss

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"We've faced great problems in the past, haven't faced this exact problem - in fact we haven't really faced anything that quite resembles this problem", Buffett said in a lengthy speech on the country's economic history.

"The world changed for airlines and I wish them well", Buffett said while acknowledging his company lost money during the virus crisis. American "magic" prevailed before and would do again, he said.

Even with the market hammering down prices on many assets, Buffett still hasn't found an acquisition target worthy of bringing into the family.

Warren Buffett's company reported a almost $50 billion (Dh183.6bn) loss on Saturday because of a huge drop in the paper value of its investments, though the company is still sitting on a huge pile of cash. "I will bet on America the rest of my life".

While quarterly operating profit rose 6%, several larger businesses including the BNSF railroad posted declines, hurt by the negative impact of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Speaking at an annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, which for the first time was live streamed and held without shareholders, the 89-year-old billionaire tried to reassure them by recalling the hardships of the past that the U.S. successfully survived through and thrived.

Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway had invested around US$7 billion or US$8 billion in total on stakes in the four airlines.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway on Saturday posted a record net loss of almost $50 billion as the coronavirus pandemic pummeled its common stock investments, but operating profit rose even as COVID-19 hurt its businesses.

Note that on the eve of the Berkshire Hathaway holding, it reported a loss of $ 49.7 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

"The airline business-and I may be wrong, and I hope I'm wrong-but I think it's changed in a very major way", Buffett said, according to Bloomberg.com.

Buffett is considered one of the savviest investors anywhere.

Later today, Mr Buffett plans to lead an abbreviated online version of Berkshire's annual meeting without any of the roughly 40,000 shareholders who typically attend.

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