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Among other businesses, the Berkshire Hathaway Energy unit posted a 3-percent profit increase, while earnings from retailing and services units increased 16 percent, despite a 19 percent revenue drop at See's sweets because Easter fell late.

Buffett defended Berkshire's disclosures in responding to three questions at Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett called himself an "idiot" for not buying stock in Amazon, but said someone at his investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway, is making up for his lack of foresight.

The distinction is notable, analysts said, in that Buffett has shied away from investing in technology companies, with IBM and then much later, Apple, rare exceptions. Berkshire wrote down the value of its stake in the company by $3bn at the same time.

Berkshire Hathaway shareholders descended on Omaha for a weekend of shopping and celebrations on Friday.

Warren Buffett on Saturday rejected a frequent criticism that his Berkshire Hathaway Inc does not disclose enough about its more than 90, often large operating businesses or its common stock investments. The stock is up 30% so far in 2019.

Buffett's admission also may signify something about Berkshire's future - namely, the conglomerate's future when Buffett, 88, and longtime partner Charlie Munger, 95, are no longer a part of its present. "I hope [Buffett] lives forever, but that's probably not a good bet".


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