Buffett gave an aggressive earnings forecast for Berkshire's collection of businesses, said the company would engage in record capital spending and forecast a recovery in the housing market would start within a year.
Foremost, though, was his acknowledgment of the need for Berkshire to expand its non-insurance businesses, a broad collection that most prominently includes the railroad Burlington Northern and the electric utility MidAmerican.
"Our elephant gun has been reloaded, and my trigger finger is itchy," Buffett said. The letter was released just before 8 a.m. EST Saturday, as it is in most years -- and many large investors say they get up early that day to read it the moment it comes online.
The so-called "Oracle of Omaha" said Berkshire will need "more major acquisitions" -- with an italicized emphasis on major -- to meet its goal.
One long-time Berkshire investor described the letter as "punchy" and "confidently American," among other things.
"I would say as an investor, I think it's a very upbeat letter, it's one that celebrates his courage on behalf of investors of going into the marketplace when the world was most fearful," said Tom Russo, a partner at Gardner Russo & Gardner in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who is one of the 15 largest holders of Berkshire Class A shares.
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