Famed investor recommends optimism in Omaha speech

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Warren Buffett shrugged off concerns about his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, which has trailed the overall market, and told shareholders Saturday to remain optimistic about his company, as well as the American economy.

More than 30,000 people descended on the annual gathering to listen to Buffett and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, who faced tough questions about Berkshire’s prospects for growth and acquisitions, and also how Buffett came to handle a vote on pay packages crafted for Coca-Cola executives, a company in which Berkshire holds a major stake.

Buffett abstained from voting Berkshire’s 400 million shares against the compensation plan last week, though he has long advocated against exorbitant executive pay, and after he described Coca-Cola’s package as excessive.

“I thought this was the most effective way of behaving at Berkshire,” Buffett said Saturday.