Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett told shareholders Saturday that the company sold 16 times more in stocks than it purchased during April, including dumping $6 billion in airline stock — the company's entire equity position in U.S. airlines.

Why it matters: Long an advocate for buy-and-hold investing and being opportunistic during downturns, Buffett's actions are in stark contrast to the general mood of the market, which has seen stocks rally by around 30% since March 23.

Between the lines: Buffett remained positive on the overall growth and trajectory of the U.S. as a whole but cautioned that the timeframe for his bet on an American comeback was decades, not months or even years, N.Y. Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin writes.

  • “You can bet on America, but you kind of have to be careful about how you bet,” Buffett said Saturday.
  • “Simply because markets can do anything.”

What's happening: Buffett said he hadn’t made any purchases recently and couldn't even recall the paltry new pickups Berkshire had made, suggesting they were picks made by Berkshire investment managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler.

The bottom line: As Sorkin notes, that's a far cry from his outlook during the 2008 financial crisis when he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times a month after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy: “In the near term, unemployment will rise, business activity will falter and headlines will continue to be scary. So … I’ve been buying American stocks.”

  • “Our position will be to stay a Fort Knox,” he said Saturday.
  • “We have not done anything, because we don’t see anything that attractive to do.”

Go deeper

Trump rules out socially distanced rallies: "You can't have empty seats"

The upper section is partially empty as President Trump speaks during his June campaign rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump said during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday he'd love to hold campaign rallies, but he "can't because of the covid. ... you can't have people sitting next to each other."

Why it matters: Trump is known for electrifying crowds at rallies and connecting with loyal supporters on a huge scale. But Trump stressed to Hewitt and in a separate radio interview earlier Tuesday that it wouldn't work while social distancing is required to prevent the spread of COVID-19. "You can’t have empty seats," Trump told with Fox News Radio.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Aug 12, 2020 - Health

America's flying blind on its coronavirus response

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A month after the Trump administration changed how hospital data is reported, the public release of this data "has slowed to a crawl," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: This is the latest example of how the world's wealthiest country just can't get it together.