Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BRK.A, +1.10% BRK.B, +1.24% may be a little freer in buying back its own shares in the future, said Vice Chairman Charlie Munger. Concisely speaking at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday morning, the plain-spoken right-hand man to Warren Buffett implied that the company might up its share repurchases. “I predict we’ll be a little more liberal in repurchasing shares,” Munger said. Berkshire bought back $1.7 billion of its own shares in the first quarter, leading to an early question about the company’s buyback strategy. Buffett offered a lengthier explanation about the thinking behind share repurchases, explaining that Berkshire aims to buyback when shares are ‘selling below a conservative estimate of its intrinsic value,” and added that it is important that “those people who have not sold shares are better off than before we repurchase them,” as a part of the philosophy. Munger’s more concise response to the question of buybacks perhaps is tied to the Berkshire’s growing cash pile which increased to $114 billion at the end of the first quarter from $112 billion at the end of 2018. Thus far this year Berkshire shares have climbed more than 7%, compared with a gain of 17.5% for the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.96% a return of 13.6% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.75% and a 23% rise for the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.58% Berkshire changed its buyback policy last year, and some shareholders have said they would like the company to spend significantly more cash repurchasing its stock.
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