Veteran investor Warren Buffett doesn't expect Berkshire Hathaway's eye-popping performance to continue.

"There remain only a handful of companies in this country (U.S.) capable of truly moving the needle at Berkshire, and they have been endlessly picked over by us and by others," the Berkshire Hathaway CEO writes in his annual letter to shareholders.

"Outside the U.S., there are essentially no candidates that are meaningful options for capital deployment at Berkshire. All in all, we have no possibility of eye-popping performance," he says.

The 'Oracle of Omaha' says Berkshire should do a bit better than the average American corporation and, more importantly, should also operate with materially less risk of permanent loss of capital.

Berkshire's shares have risen by 4,384,748% since Buffett took over in 1965.

"Berkshire is built to last," the well-known investor says. "Extreme fiscal conservatism is a corporate pledge that we make to those who have joined us in ownership of Berkshire," he adds.

Buffett called Charlie Munger, his longtime business partner and right-hand man who died aged 99 in November last year, the ‘architect’ of Berkshire Hathaway.

"In reality, Charlie was the 'architect' of the present Berkshire, and I acted as the 'general contractor' to carry out the day-by-day construction of his vision," Buffett says.

"Charlie never sought to take credit for his role as creator but instead let me take the bows and receive the accolades. In a way his relationship with me was part older brother, part loving father. Even when he knew he was right, he gave me the reins, and when I blundered he never – never –reminded me of my mistake," he writes.

Munger was vice chairman at Berkshire and one of the company’s biggest shareholders. The duo’s value hunt for over half a century also demonstrated that equities can deliver better returns when one stays invested over a long period. Buffett and Munger delivered a 20% compounded annual growth rate in the market value of Berkshire Hathaway from 1965 to 2022, twice the gains delivered by the S&P 500 Index.

Buffett says both American Express and Coca-Cola will almost certainly increase their dividends in 2024 – about 16% in the case of AMEX. “We will most certainly leave our holdings untouched throughout the year,” he says. Berkshire Hathaway also owns 5.9% stake in iPhone maker Apple.

Greg Abel, who runs all non-insurance operations for Berkshire, is ready to be CEO of Berkshire tomorrow, says Buffett.

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