March 1, 2009

Buffett apologizes for poor peformance

Billionaire U.S. investor Warren Buffett says he himself is to blame for his company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., having its worst year ever in 2008.

During 2008 I did some dumb things in investments, he wrote Saturday in a letter to shareholders, adding, I made some errors of omission, sucking my thumb when new facts came in that should have caused me to re-examine my thinking and promptly take action, The Washington Post reported.

But Buffett also voiced optimism on the long-term prospects for Berkshire Hathaway, saying, The economy will be in shambles throughout 2009 -- and, for that matter, probably well beyond -- but that conclusion does not tell us whether the stock market will rise or fall.

Using the book value per share metric, Berkshire's showing in 2008 was a 9.6 percent decline, the biggest such negative performance since Buffett took over the company in 1965, and only the second time in more than 40 years that Berkshire posted negative annual results, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In financial results released Saturday, Berkshire reported fourth-quarter net income of $117 million, marking a 96 percent decline from last year's $2.9 billion fourth-quarter income.