The Latest: Buffett hopes for big health care savings

MarketsAssociated Press

The Latest on investor Warren Buffett's views on tax reform, the economy and his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate (all times local):

7 a.m.

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Billionaire Warren Buffett says he hopes the new health care initiative his company has started with Amazon and JP Morgan Chase will deliver significant cost savings.

Buffett didn't discuss many details of the three companies' health care plans during an appearance on CNBC Monday because the initiative was just announced last month.

But Buffett said the goal is much bigger than simply shaving 3 percent off health costs through negotiating power.

Buffett says he hopes the effort will be able to find a way to deliver better care at somewhat lower costs. He says the steady increase in health care costs has been a drain on American business.

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6 a.m.

Investor Warren Buffett says he remains confident in Wells Fargo and its current leadership despite the bank's problems.

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is Wells Fargo's largest stakeholder, holding about a 10 percent of the bank's shares. Buffett appeared on CNBC Monday after releasing his annual letter over the weekend.

Buffett says he believes Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan has worked to clean up the misconduct that was reported at the bank in recent years. Regulators determined that bank employees opened millions of unauthorized accounts to meet sales quotas.

Buffett says it could take the bank a long time to work its way back into regulators' good graces again.

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5:50 a.m.

Billionaire Warren Buffett says his own conglomerate is the stock he favors best because of its prospects, but Apple is the stock Berkshire Hathaway bought most last year.

Buffett declined to name a favorite stock outside of Berkshire during an interview on CNBC Monday, but he said investors can get clues about what he likes best by looking at Berkshire's portfolio.

Berkshire held 166.7 million Apple shares at the end of 2017, and Buffett says his company has bought more Apple shares than anything else in the past year.

Several of Berkshire's other biggest stock holdings have been held for decades. Those include large stakes in Coca-Cola and American Express.

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5:45 a.m.

Investor Warren Buffett says General Electric has clearly had accounting issues and misjudged its liabilities for long-term care insurance.

But Buffett stopped short of criticizing GE's former CEOs Jeff Immelt and Jack Welch who are both friends of his. Buffett appeared on CNBC Monday.

Buffett says he will closely read what GE discloses in his annual report. He says GE has clearly not been a model of good accounting in recent years.

Buffett's Berkshire invested $3 billion in preferred shares of GE during the financial crisis in 2008, but later sold those shares and doesn't currently own GE.

Buffett says he hasn't been approached about buying any of GE's businesses at this point.

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5:30 a.m.

Billionaire Warren Buffett says the tax overhaul Congress passed last year will provide a "huge tail wind" for American business.

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reported a $29 billion paper gain on far-reaching changes to the U.S. tax code, and the conglomerate will benefit from a lower tax rate going forward.

Buffett appeared on CNBC Monday after releasing his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders on Saturday.

But Buffett says he's had a hard time finding acquisitions at reasonable prices so he's sitting on $116 billion cash and short-term bonds.

Buffett says he expects he'll eventually find a good use for a big chunk of that cash, but he may have to wait for a downturn in the economy.