Highlights – CNBC Squawk Box interviews billionaire Warren Buffett

Author: Lindsey Boycott

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Publication date: 4th Mar 2020 13:34 GMT+1

Often referred to as the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett has made billions, and when he speaks – people listen. In a three-hour interview with CNBC Squawk Box, he shares his thoughts on everything from his new smartphone to the state of the economy. Many of his opinions are well known, and others are sage advice passed on from someone who has weathered many a Wall Street storm.

Not surprisingly, for an 89-year-old investor, Buffett is not down with digital cash. The way he explains it to host Becky Quick, he's not convinced that crypto-currency has value beyond what someone else might think it's worth in the future. It's causally inert, Buffett says, it doesn't send out investor checks or produce anything. He may be the third richest man in the world, but Forbes' contributor Billy Bambrough offers a spirited defense of cryptocurrency. 

The combined crypto market currently boasts a $260 billion market capitalization, double what it was last year at this time. "If aging investors like Warren Buffett ever admit to buying bitcoin, you should probably take it as a sign the crypto market is again getting overheated," he wrote. Whether one is a devout Buffett follower or more middling in opinion, it is worth considering that the billionaire will likely have collected ideas along his nine-decade life journey that aren't up for discussion.

On the topic of the Coronavirus, Buffett advises that investors hold steady in the face of market uncertainty. The long-term outlook doesn't have to change, he says, when things happen. Despite all the static generated about a global market slowdown in the face of virus-fears, he says his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) is in it for the long haul.

"We are buying businesses to own for 20 to 30 years. We buy them in whole, we buy them in parts …. and we think the 20- and 30-year outlook is not changed by the coronavirus," Buffett stated. He quipped about speaking with his 'science advisor,' Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) CEO Bill Gates, about efforts to control the spread and impact of the disease and bantered about the future possibility of a universal flu vaccine. "I talked to … [Gates] in the last few days about it, and he's bullish on the long-term outlook for a universal prevention of it."

Along a similar theme, he also cautions investors against making changes to their portfolio based on headlines. Market volatility has led to questions about what the future holds, and Buffett says its best to take advantage of market dips if there is something you can buy at a discount. Other than that – stay the course and don't let today's headlines predict tomorrow.

Also, Buffett loves banks. Berkshire (NYSE: BRK-B) currently owns stakes in Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), BNY Mellon, (NYSE: BK) and US Bancorp (NYSE: USB) and sit amongst its fifteen most significant stock holdings. The investment firm is currently divesting its interest in Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), but Buffett refused to comment on the decision to do so.

On a lighter note, despite his long-standing admiration for all that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has achieved, Buffett only recently upgraded to a smartphone. "My flip phone is permanently gone," he said.

Disclaimer: The writer is an experienced financial consultant who writes for Finscreener.org. The observations he makes are his own and are not intended as investment or trading advice.