Warren Buffett’s often surprising business empire is now backed by the Fed

While other billionaires made their fortunes by building just one business, Warren Buffett owns dozens, producing everything from bricks to underwear. A list of the most prominent brands reveals many surprises.

And here’s another surprise, which came to light over the weekend: The Federal Reserve now has an investment in Buffett’s massive holding company, Berkshire Hathaway.

As part of its growing coronavirus economic rescue program, the Fed has started buying corporate debt, including bonds issued by a couple of businesses that are part of Berkshire.

Buffett didn’t ask for and doesn’t need the Fed’s help. But he has been benefiting from the incredibly low interest rates the Fed’s bond-buying has helped generate.

Cheap money might help him add to his empire, which now includes these companies. You probably never knew Buffett was the owner of many of these businesses.

With nearly 3,000 employees, the Acme Brick Company produces a range … Read More

Trump is no longer the best candidate for business

For most of the last three years, investors and business owners have backed President Trump’s handling of the economy, even if they disapproved of his disruptive leadership style. Trump cut taxes and slashed regulation, gifts to corporate America that boosted business income and stock valuations.

There’s almost no chance Trump could be so generous to business if he wins a second term, since the federal debt is soaring amid the severe coronavirus recession and trillions in new stimulus dollars. “At the beginning of the Trump administration, the agenda was squarely focused on market positives,” Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst for Raymond James, says in the latest episode of the Yahoo Finance Electionomics podcast. “That to-do list is done. Much of what could have been done is completed.”

Trump hasn’t outlined a thorough economic agenda for a second term, but he has indicated his trade fight with China could continue

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China calls on banks to give up US$212 billion in profits to finance cheap business lending

China’s government is reaching beyond its monetary policy tool box to free up capital and direct funds towards the nation’s cash-starved businesses to help the economy claw its way out of its worst slump in four decades.

The government has called on banks to sacrifice as much as 1.5 trillion yuan (US$212 billion) in profits this year to finance cheap loans, cut fees, defer loan repayments and grant more unsecured loans to help small businesses survive the downturn caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

Separately, the State Council, China’s cabinet, signalled late on Wednesday that it would cut the amount of reserves banks are required to hold at the central bank, freeing up more money to spur lending.

“We are guiding the market to lower lending rates through interest-rate reform,” Yi Gang, the governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), told the Lujiazui Forum on Thursday, confirming the move was

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Protests shed light on why ‘black founders matter’ in startups, business

Widespread protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd have also put a spotlight on a lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the boardroom, a venture capitalist told Yahoo Finance this week, who described the issue as an opportunity for change.

Angel investor Lorine Pendleton, the lead investor for the Rising American Fund with Portfolia, said that the current social upheaval is putting a needed spotlight on issues that pertain to class and wealth. That includes the need to tackle the dearth of minorities on Wall Street, Silicon Valley and in board rooms.

The problem is “really systemic,” Pendleton told Yahoo Finance’s “On the Move” in an interview, adding that the Black Lives Matter movement is “actually shedding a light on income and wealth disparity.”

“And so I say, black founders matter, and that’s…what we’re doing and investing in these best of class companies that are out

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