Berkshire shares dip on Buffett cancer news
NEW YORK, April 18 – Shares in Berkshire Hathaway Inc fell less than 1 per cent in early trading today, a relatively limited reaction to the news that Chief Executive Warren Buffett has stage 1 prostate cancer and will start radiation treatment this summer.
Buffett said yesterday that he had the early-stage illness and that his condition “is not remotely life-threatening or even debilitating in any meaningful way.”
A number of long-term Berkshire shareholders shrugged off the news, given Buffett’s good prognosis and the succession planning Berkshire had already started.
“We’ve owned the stock nearly continuously for 13 years. We’ve thought about succession a lot,” said David Rolfe, chief investment officer of Wedgewood Partners, which holds Berkshire Class B shares.
“Somebody needs to say to themselves before they dump their Berkshire, in the mid-$70s ... there’s a chance they could be selling their shares back to Buffett,” Rolfe added, referring to a buyback Berkshire launched late last year.
Class A shares fell US$1,110 to US$120,200, while the more widely held Class B shares fell 67 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $80.09.
After underperforming the S&P 500 in 2011, the stock has lagged again this year, with the Class B shares making just half the gains of the broader market through yesterday. – Reuters