|JOSH FUNK, AP Business Writer|
In his annual letter to
Investors eagerly await the letter from Buffett, 81, the so-called
Buffett said housing "remains in a depression of its own," but he predicted, in typical plainspoken style, that the housing market will come back because some human factors can't be denied forever.
"People may postpone hitching up during uncertain times, but eventually hormones take over," he wrote. "And while `doubling-up' may be the initial reaction of some during a recession, living with in-laws can quickly lose its allure."
The housing prediction proved painful for
Those businesses, which include Acme Brick,
Berkshire's insurance companies took
But several of Berkshire's larger non-insurance businesses _
That helped Berkshire as a whole to generate
A Class A share of Berkshire stock, which has never been split by the company, traded for
Buffett reassured Berkshire shareholders that the company has someone in mind to replace him eventually, but did not name the successor. He emphasized that he has no plans to leave.
"I think this was a forceful and stronger attempt to put this issue to bed," Tongue said.
Buffett offered a couple of details about Berkshire's succession planning in this year's letter. Investors have long worried about who will replace Buffett as Berkshire chairman and CEO.
Buffett said the Berkshire board is enthusiastic about the executive it has picked and said there are two good back-up candidates.
"When a transfer of responsibility is required, it will be seamless, and Berkshire's prospects will remain bright," Buffett said.
Previously, Buffett had said only that the board had three internal candidates for the CEO job. Berkshire plans to split Buffett's jobs into three parts to replace him with a CEO, a chairman and several investment managers.
Berkshire has also cleared up some succession questions by hiring two hedge fund managers,
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