This is an unofficial transcript of Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and Bill Gates appearing live with Becky Quick on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Monday, May 5, 2014.
A PDF version of this transcript may be downloaded by clicking here.
BECKY QUICK, CNBC: We are live this morning from the Nebraska Furniture Mart, which is one of many Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) businesses. Warren, this business in particular, really sees a huge surge of business on the shareholders weekend. What kind of numbers have come through here and how many shareholders do you think were actually here this weekend?
WARREN BUFFETT, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY CHAIRMAN & CEO: We’ll do over $40 million in one week here at the Furniture Mart. That’s a lot of business. Most furniture stores don’t do that in a year, and it’s our biggest week of the year. In fact, it’s a normal month. We do about $450 million a year at this store. So it’s a normal month, and we do it all in a week. And the stockholders get more excited every year. I mean, I run into people in the elevator a month or two ahead of time. They say thank you for holding the meeting, patting me on the back. They want to come on to the Furniture Mart.
BECKY: So you told us before you expected maybe 38,000 people this year. What do you think the numbers were?
WARREN BUFFETT: Not any less than that. This was the biggest meeting by quite a margin because we filled not only the main auditorium, but we filled all three overflow rooms and spilled over to the Hilton, and there were people in the exhibition hall. We can never get a perfect count, but I’m sure we beat anything in the past by at least 3,000. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we beat it by 5,000.
BECKY: So somewhere between 38 and 40,000 is what you’re guessing?
WARREN BUFFETT: Yes.
BECKY: Let’s talk a little bit about what Joe was mentioning. I had not seen the ten-year (U.S. note yield) yet this morning. He talked about how it was 2.75 percent. Why do you think this is? Is this a sign of concern about what’s happening? What would be your guess?
WARREN BUFFETT: I don’t know. I’m not good on interest rates. One thing I know ten years from now they probably won’t be at 2.57 or 3.57.
BECKY: Does it catch your attention, though, when you see the ten-year continue to decline? Most people thought it would definitely would have to go up this year.
WARREN BUFFETT: It’s surprising, but I’m used to getting surprised in markets. And we issue bonds from time to time. So lower rates are, the more we like to issue them, and the longer we like to issue them.
BECKY: So would a ten-year at this level change any of your behavior in the business? Would you do anything differently?
WARREN BUFFETT: No, if it moved up or 50 basis points or down 50 basis points, we would not do anything differently. We don’t react to macro factors at Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B). Our macro factor is the country will do better over time.
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