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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."

Go deeper

25 mins ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.