Appearing for an interview with BlockTV, Max Keiser explained why he thinks Warren Buffett has been throwing shade at the crypto community. Keiser did not hold back:
I think he feels insecure. Without the bailouts of 2008, without the access to free money from central banks, without stock buybacks – that were up until recently illegal – Warren Buffett’s performance would be close to zero.
Warren Buffett has trashed Bitcoin in particular and the budding crypto-economic sector in general, calling Bitcoin “rat poison squared” just last year, CCN reported.
Buffet: ‘Aiding and Abetting Crime’?
Keiser also suggested that Buffett’s investments in Wells Fargo amounted to “aiding and abetting” an enterprise with a history marred with criminal misconduct.
“He’s the largest investor in Wells Fargo. When they engage in serial criminality as they have been doing in the last few years, he says nothing. So he’s aiding and abetting crime. He’s a criminal. The guy is overrated… He’s a complete failure.”
Since 2000, Wells Fargo has been forced to pay $14.7 billion in penalties for committing a host of violations.
2018: Stock Buybacks Nearly Double
Across the S&P 500, U.S. public companies spent a record-setting $938 billion on buybacks during 2018, according to the Wall Street Journal. In 2017, companies poured just $519 billion into buying back their own shares.
The surge came on the heels of the Republican tax cut bill – which is projected to launch the federal debt $1.9 trillion higher the next decade – thereby implying that taxpayers effectively fronted the cash for companies to repurchase their own stock.
Buffet Joins the Buyback Party
In November, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. repurchased $928 million worth of its shares. Analysts noted that the Oracle’s move suggested there were very few opportunities for Buffet to deploy capital in productive ways.
Quoted by the Wall Street Journal, chief investment officeer at Wedgewood Partners Inc. in St. Louis, said:
What the buybacks signal, in a very big way, is that [Buffett’s] short list of putting prospective billions to work, either in private businesses or equities, outside of Apple, are nil.
The $928 million buyback marked Berkshire’s first major stock repurchase since 2012, when the firm scooped up about $1.3 billion worth of stock from Berkshire’s shareholders.
2019: Buyback Spree Part Two?
Stock buybacks are expected to remain a hot trend in the S&P 500 this year once again despite the 2018 binge. Companies are still sitting on vast sums of cash that are being held overseas, and now stocks are starting to look a bit cheaper, making repurchases all the more attractive for U.S. firms.
In late January, JPMorgan strategist Dubravko Lakos-Bujas predicted that companies in the S&P 500 would spend another $800 billion on stock buybacks in 2019. He wrote that these public U.S. firms still have about $1 trillion in cash stashed abroad.