Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik / WireImage

Warren Buffett released his annual letter on Saturday, in which he tells shareholders that his company, Berkshire Hathaway, made $29 billion in 2017 because of the GOP tax cuts.

"Berkshire's gain in net worth during 2017 was $65.3 billion...A large portion of our gain did not come from anything we accomplished at Berkshire. The $65 billion gain is nonetheless real – rest assured of that. But only $36 billion came from Berkshire’s operations. The remaining $29 billion was delivered to us in December when Congress rewrote the U.S. Tax Code."
— Warren Buffett
  • He encouraged investors to stick with stocks, despite being "riskier...than short-term U.S. bonds:" "It is a terrible mistake for investors with long-term horizons – among them, pension funds, college endowments and savings-minded individuals – to measure their investment 'risk' by their portfolio’s ratio of bonds to stocks. Often, high-grade bonds in an investment portfolio increase its risk."
  • He said Berkshire needs "to make one or more huge acquisitions," and that the company had $116 billion on hand at the end of 2017: "Our smiles will broaden when we have redeployed Berkshire's excess funds into more productive assets."
  • In regard to acquisitions, he said "a sensible purchase price" has "provided a barrier to virtually all deals we reviewed in 2017."
  • He laid out "four truly major dips" Berkshire shares saw in 1973-1975, 1987, 2000, and 2009: "This table offers the strongest argument I can muster against ever using borrowed money to own stocks. There is simply no telling how far stocks can fall in a short period."

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Updated 1 hour ago - World

Pandemic plunges U.K. into "largest recession on record"

The scene near the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England in the City of London, England. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom slumped into recession as its gross domestic product GDP shrank 20.4% compared with the first three months of the year, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) confirmed Wednesday.

Why it matters: Per an ONS statement, "It is clear that the U.K. is in the largest recession on record." The U.K. has faired worse than any other major European economy from coronavirus lockdowns, Bloomberg notes. And finance minister Rishi Sunak warns the situation is likely to worsen.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

The United Kingdom slumped into recession on Wednesday, as its gross domestic product GDP shrank 20.4% compared with the first three months of the year.

By the numbers: Over 741,400 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and more than 20.2 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins. Almost 12.6 million have recovered from the virus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 20,294,091 — Total deaths: 741,420— Total recoveries: 12,591,454Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,141,207 — Total deaths: 164,537 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. States: Georgia reports 137 coronavirus deaths, setting new daily record Florida reports another daily record for deaths.
  4. Health care: Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season.
  7. World: Anthony Fauci "seriously" doubts Russia's coronavirus vaccine is safe