May 2, 2020 - Economy & Business

Berkshire Hathaway didn't buy the coronavirus dip

Photo: Johannes Eiselee/AFP/Getty Images

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has $137 billion in cash, up $10 billion from the end of 2019, it reported Saturday. The company reported more than $50 billion in unrealized stock losses, but still had a quarterly operating profit of nearly $6 billion.

Why it matters: "That’s a contrast to the financial crisis in 2008, when his Omaha-based company dipped into its vast cash reserves to gain lucrative preferred shares and rescue businesses teetering on the edge of collapse," Bloomberg notes.

  • “As efforts to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated in the second half of March and continued through April, most of our businesses were negatively affected, with the effects to date ranging from relatively minor to severe,” the company said in a regulatory filing Saturday.

CNBC: "The Standard & Poor’s 500 slid 20% in the first quarter but there were steeper falls in several large Berkshire holdings including American Express, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and four airlines -- American, Delta, Southwest and United."

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Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday that social media platforms should not police political speech, and that "people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was responding to Twitter's decision this week to fact-check a pair of President Trump's tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots are "substantially fraudulent." Twitter's label, which directs users to "get the facts" about mail-in voting, does not censor Trump's tweets.

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.

U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — worse than the initially estimated 4.8% contraction — according to revised figures released by the government on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the worst quarterly decline since 2008 and shows a huge hit as the economy was just beginning to shut down because of the coronavirus. Economists are bracing for the second quarter's figures to be the worst ever — with some projecting an annualized decline of around 40%.

3 hours ago - Economy & Business