But the famed investor’s willingness to keep buying signals continued confidence in the direction of the US economy and financial markets.
Berkshire reported about $3.8 billion in net stock purchases during the second quarter. That’s on top of more than $40 billion in stock Berkshire bought in the first quarter.
Why it matters: Given Buffett’s track record of success and consistent focus on the long term, his investing habits are closely watched by traders.
The economic data that Buffett and others on Wall Street are currently reviewing is muddled, making their job difficult.
- The economy added more than half a million jobs in July. That pushed the unemployment rate to 3.5%, tied with the lowest level since 1969.
- Gas prices fell below $4 a gallon.
- Consumer confidence rebounded from record lows.
- The US stock market has gained ground for four straight weeks.
“It’s not a recession. It’s not even in the same universe as a recession,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
Should Disney part ways with ESPN as sports betting grows?
One of the most dramatic of its pitches is that Disney spins off ESPN.
The sports network is an attractive part of the larger streaming bundle with Disney+ and Hulu, Loeb acknowledged. But he thinks there is a “strong case” for ESPN to stand on its own given the rapid growth of the sports betting industry, which could generate huge profits but damage Disney’s image in as a “family first” business.
“ESPN would have greater flexibility to pursue business initiatives that may be more difficult within the Disney framework,” Loeb wrote in a letter to the company outlining his proposals.
CEO Bob Chapek said last week that his team was “working hard” on a sports betting offering.
“We hope to have something to announce in the future in terms of partnering there that will allow us to access that revenue stream,” he told analysts.
Still, Loeb thinks Disney stocks would perform better if ESPN were to be separated, a popular trend among big companies trying to simplify their presentations to Wall Street investors.
Investor Insight: Shares of Disney soared more than 2% on Monday. But they are still down almost 20% this year, making the company one of the worst performers in the Dow Jones.
Ex-WeWork CEO woos investors again
If you watched “WeCrashed” on Apple TV+, there were other lessons to be learned as well. The ousting of former CEO Adam Neumann was touted as payback, as a selfish, unsupervised founder suffered a late reality check (even while floating on a golden parachute).
But when are the stories always so tidy?
“Adam and the WeWork story has been comprehensively, at times accurately, chronicled, analyzed and fictionalized,” Andreessen wrote. “Despite all the energy devoted to covering the story, it’s often underestimated that one single person fundamentally re-engineered the desktop experience and led a paradigm-shifting global company in the process.”
That said: details about the operation remain scarce. And Neumann will make his next act in a much tougher climate, as recession fears and market volatility upend the startup ecosystem and force once high-flying companies to drastically cut valuations.
Also today: US housing starts and building permits data for July arrives at 8:30 a.m. ET. Industrial production data follows at 9:15 a.m. ET.
Coming tomorrow: Economists polled by Refinitiv expect to hear that U.S. retail sales for July rose just 0.1% month-on-month.