I made the trip to Omaha this weekend for the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. This was my first trip to Omaha since 2005 and attendance at the meeting has grown considerably over the past few years. I still remember my first Berkshire Annual Meeting in 2001 at the Omaha Civic Auditorium when attendance was quite a bit lower. If attendance grows much beyond the 35,000 who showed up this year, the meeting will soon outgrow the Qwest Center. Read this post for notes on the morning session.
So much for the conspiracy theories! Moody’s, which is 20% owned by Berkshire Hathaway, today downgraded the long term issuer rating of Berkshire two notches fromAaa to Aa2, and the Issuer Financial Strength (IFS) rating of most of the insurance subsidiaries one notch from Aaa to Aa1. After taking this action, Moody’s declared Berkshire Hathaway’s ratings outlook to be “stable”. For those who have signed up for a free account with Moody’s, the text of the action can be found here. Read this post for more details.
There has been much debate in recent days regarding whether the market for Credit Default Swaps (CDS) should be more tightly regulated. Let’s take a look at the nature of credit default swaps and whether arguments for tighter regulation have merit.