For Warren Buffett, sinking Apple shares a wish come true

Buffett in recent years has lamented missing the boat on buying shares in US technology giants. (File/AFP)
Updated 03 January 2019
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For Warren Buffett, sinking Apple shares a wish come true

  • Apple’s warning on Wednesday about weak iPhone demand in the holiday quarter due to slower sales in China sent its stock down 7.5 percent during after-hours trading
  • Apple’s stock market value has tumbled to below $700 billion from over $1.1 trillion at its peak in October

SILICON VALLEY: Billionaire Warren Buffett has said he would love to see Apple Inc. shares decline in price so he could buy more. He is getting his wish.
Apple’s warning on Wednesday about weak iPhone demand in the holiday quarter due to slower sales in China sent its stock down 7.5 percent during after-hours trading. Class B shares of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. traded down 2 percent in the same session on Wall Street.
Buffett, the folksy Nebraska investor known more for buying railroads, energy firms and classic American corporate brands than for his acumen picking tech stocks, in recent years has lamented missing the boat on buying shares in US technology giants. He admitted an earlier investment in IBM Corp. was not one of his best.
Yet Buffett has made Apple a centerpiece of his portfolio of other company’s stocks, touting his own use of the Cupertino, California-based company’s products and saying at his annual shareholders’ meeting in Omaha last May, “We would love to see Apple go down in price,” so he could buy more at a bargain.
Buffett sees Apple more as a consumer stock than a tech stock, reflecting the iPhone’s status as a must-have possession for so many people.
Including its after-hours drop on Wednesday, Apple’s stock market value has tumbled to below $700 billion from over $1.1 trillion at its peak in October. Although Apple has fallen behind Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in value, it remains one of Wall Street’s most widely held companies.
Shares of Berkshire itself have held up well even as the broader market sank last quarter. Last year, Berkshire returned 2.8 percent, while the S&P 500 fell 4.4 percent, including reinvested dividends.
But the $3 billion hit to Berkshire’s Apple shares in evening trading on Wednesday could show in future reported earnings. Those figures do not reflect any long-term gains on Berkshire’s investments, and Buffett has encouraged investors to ignore the profit statistic mandated by US accounting practices.


Saudi Arabia and UAE launch a new joint cryptocurrency

Updated 20 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia and UAE launch a new joint cryptocurrency

  • The cryptocurrency will be limited to banks during its first stages
  • The program will also help the two countries evaluate the monetary policies of a centralized currency

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have launched a joint cryptocurrency during the first meeting of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination council Saturday in Abu Dhabi, UAE’s national press agency WAM said.

The cryptocurrency will be limited to banks during its first stages, until the governments have a better understanding of how Blockchain technology operates cross-borders.

The currency operates on the use of a “distributed database between the central banks and the participating banks from both sides,” aiming to protect customer interests, set technology standards and assess cybersecurity risks. The new program will also help evaluate the impacts of a central currency on monetary policies.

During the meeting, representatives of Saudi Arabia and the UAE also signed the Joint Supply Chained Security Cooperation program, which tests the two countries abilities to provide vital supplies during times of crisis and national emergencies, as well as share expertise and knowledge in the field.

All 16 members of the executive committee of the council followed up on the execution of the initiatives mentioned in the Strategy of Resolve.

Representatives also set five other initiatives to enhance the cooperation between the two countries, such as facilitating the traffic between ports, improving airports to make it easier for people with disabilities to travel, creating a financial awareness program for children aged 7-18, starting a joint platform to support local SMEs, and the integration of civil aviation markets,

The committee was headed by Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Gergawi, minister of cabinet of affairs and the future of UAE, and Mohammed bin Mazyad Al-Twaijri, minister of economy and planning in Saudi. The committee will also monitor the implementation of the initiatives.