Billionaire investing icon Warren Buffett said that his Berkshire Hathaway has been spending about $500 million a week acquiring stock during recent market volatility and that he’s planning to invest $32 billion in the next four to five months.
He said the U.S. economy is growing at about 2 percent.
"We're still on that path we've been on for six years," the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway told CNBC.
"That's not a bad rate, but it's not a booming rate, either."
Buffett — the world's third richest person, according to Forbes, with a fortune of $72.7 billion — is avidly followed by investors, and his opinions on companies and assets move markets globally.
Buffett appeared on CNBC Tuesday before dining with the winners of this year's auction of a private lunch. Beijing's Dalian Zeus Entertainment Co. paid $2,345,678.
In a wide-ranging interview:
(The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report).
- Buffett says he has been adding to his sizable stake in of International Business Machines Corp. during the third quarter as shares in the tech company slide. "We bought it in the first quarter, and normally I wouldn't tell you this, but we bought some in the third quarter," Buffett told the cable television network.
- He also said that, if he could vote on Bank of America chief executive Brian Moynihan's title, he would vote to have him in both the CEO and chairman roles.
- Buffett says he bases his investments on a company's prospects over the next five or 10 years.
- Buffett also said Berkshire would probably spend $32 billion in the next four to five months. "I still got money to buy. I'll never go below $20 billion in cash."
- Buffett said Berkshire's $32 billion agreement to buy Precision Castparts hasn't slowed his other buying since it was announced last month. Berkshire Hathaway recently disclosed a $4.5 billion investment in Phillips 66 even with energy companies being pummeled by low crude prices.
- Buffett said that there are dozens of countries in which his sprawling Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate would be interested in buying new businesses.
- Berkshire earlier this year agreed to buy a German motorcycle apparel and accessories retailer — a purchase that Buffett described as a signal to markets that he is shopping abroad. "It was an ad. It was an ad that paid us," said Buffett, 85, who over the past five decades has built Berkshire Hathaway into one of the world's most valuable companies.
- "If our rates got substantially higher than Europe's, I don't think that would be good for exports in this country," Buffett said. "In economics, you can never do one thing. There is always a 'then what' and I think the 'then what' of raising rates while Europe's trying to keep them low could have some consequences down the line." The Fed has held its benchmark federal funds rate near zero since December 2008, but could raise it for the first time in more than nine years when the Federal Open Market Committee meets Sept. 16-17.
- Buffett also praised Democrat Hillary Clinton, who is vying for her party's nomination for the presidency, saying she would "work like the dickens" should she win the November 2016 poll.
- While market economies do produce some inequality, Buffett said, he lamented that so many Americans now find themselves struggling in the world's biggest economy.
- To help combat poverty, Buffett called for a "significantly" larger earned income tax credit for lower income Americans.
- And while Clinton has proposed increased profit-sharing between companies and employees, Buffett said that he thought markets were best placed to make those kinds of decisions.
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