Warren Buffett says that Berkshire Hathaway had a slight preference for reporting investment losses this quarter for tax reasons.
With $90 billion in unrealized investment gains, he says, Berkshire has a lot of flexibility with how to report its investment results. Typically, he says, "we would rather take losses than gains because of the tax effect...and there's probably just one touch more emphasis on that this year."
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Berkshire said Friday that its first-quarter net earnings fell 27%, hurt by weaker investment gains.
The current tax rate is 35%, Mr. Buffett says, and in the future, "there's some chance of that rate being lower, meaning the losses would have less tax value to us after this year."
This is the first mention of politics during the meeting, but probably not the last. Mr. Buffett supported Hillary Clinton during the campaign, and shareholders will probably be eager to ask about his thoughts on President Trump's proposed policies.
Click here to see the full live coverage of Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting:
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 06, 2017 10:58 ET (14:58 GMT)