Economy "in Shambles Throughout 2009": Buffett

But billionaire confident nation will rebound

|  Saturday, Feb 28, 2009  |  Updated 8:41 PM EDT
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Blame Them For Your Empty Wallet


Billionaire Warren Buffett predicts economy will be "in shambles" through 2009.

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OMAHA, Neb.Billionaire Warren Buffett says all kinds of investors finished 2008 bloodied and confused because of the dysfunctional credit market and other financial turmoil.

And the famous investor said Saturday in his letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders that "the nation's economy will be in shambles throughout 2009."

His comments came as Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has reported a 62 percent drop in its 2008 net income because investment and derivative losses of nearly $7.5 billion weighed on the results.

Buffett detailed his worst year leading Berkshire in a shareholder letter issued Saturday.

Berkshire reported $4.99 billion net income, or $3,224 per share, in 2008. That's down from $13.21 billion, or $8,548, in 2007.

Buffett says the Omaha-based company's book value — assets minus liabilities — declined 9.6 percent to $70,530 per share in 2008.

Berkshire's book value declined only one other time under Buffett, and that was a 6.2 percent decline in 2001.

But Buffett remains optimistic about the country's future. He says America has faced bigger economic challenges in the past, including two World Wars and the Great Depression.

He says America's best days remain ahead.

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