18/05/2024 8:33 PM

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Futures lower, Buffett dumps airlines, states reopen

Warren Buffett

Gerry Miller | CNBC

This is a live blog. Check back for updates

7:41 am: Coronavirus update

The fast-spreading coronavirus has infected more than 1.15 million Americans, more than any other country, according to Johns Hopkins University. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he was confident that a vaccine would be available by the end of 2020. More than 3.5 million people have now been infected worldwide by the coronavirus and over 247,000 people have died. Italy saw a slowdown in daily cases over the weekend. – Fitzgerald

7:38 am: Buffett couldn’t find anything to buy

The “Oracle of Omaha” Warren Buffett hasn’t made any big investments in several years as Berkshire Hathaway’s massive cash pile ballooned to a record $137 billion by the end of March. He said the reason is simply that he hasn’t found anything “attractive.”

“We have not done anything because we haven’t seen anything that attractive to do,” Buffett said at Berkshire’s annual meeting on Saturday. “We are not doing anything big obviously. We are willing to do something very big. I mean you could come to me on Monday morning with something that involved $30, or $40 billion or $50 billion. And if we really like what we are seeing, we would do it.” The billionaire investor said previously he was ready to make an “elephant-sized acquisition.” – Li

7:33 am: Buffett reveals he sold all of his airline stakes

At Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting on Saturday, Warren Buffett said his conglomerate has sold all of its airline holdings because of the coronavirus pandemic. The prior stake, worth north of $4 billion in December, included positions in United, American, SouthWest and Delta Airlines. The sale marks a rare move for the buy-and-hold value investor.

“The world has changed for the airlines, and I don’t know how it’s changed and I hope it corrects itself in a reasonably prompt way,” he said. “I don’t know if Americans have now changed their habits or will change their habits because of the extended period.”

Demand for air travel has plunged since March as the virus and precautions like shelter-in-place orders keep potential passengers at home. Airline shares were the biggest losers in the S&P 500 in premarket trading. Delta, United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines all lost more than 9{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}. – Li

7:20 am: Stocks set to open lower

U.S. stock index futures pointed to losses across the board at the open, extending markets’ rocky start to May. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was set to open nearly 300 points lower for a loss of 1.2{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were slated to decline 1{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} and 0.8{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}, respectively. Relations between the U.S. and China worsened over the weekend after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was a “significant amount of evidence” connecting the coronavirus to a lab in the Wuhan region of China. Meanwhile legendary investor Warren Buffett said Saturday at his virtual annual shareholder meeting that Berkshire Hathaway is still sitting on its massive cash hoard because the conglomerate hasn’t found a company to buy at an attractive price.

The turn lower follows Friday’s underperformance, which saw the Dow and S&P 500 drop 2.5{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} and 2.8{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}, while the Nasdaq tumbled 3.2{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}. But it’s been a brief respite in an otherwise strong period for stocks. April was the best month since 1987 for the Dow and the S&P, while the Nasdaq saw its best month since 2000. – Stevens 

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