Buffett defends stock investments, which fueled record Berkshire profit
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett on Saturday forcefully defended Berkshire Hathaway Inc's decision to invest heavily in stocks of companies such as Apple Inc as he labors through a four-year drought since his last major acquisition of a company. In his widely-read annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, the 89-year-old Buffett also assured that his conglomerate is "100% prepared" for the eventual departures of him and Charlie Munger, his 96-year-old vice chairman. Berkshire also posted record full-year earnings of $81.42 billion, boosted by unrealized gains from its stock investments, though operating profit fell 3% to $23.97 billion. The Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate has more than 90 operating units employing 391,539 people, including the BNSF railroad, Geico car insurer, Dairy Queen ice cream and See's candies; several clothing and jewelry companies, and namesake utility and real estate brokerage businesses.