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Berkshire Billion Dollar Share Buy Back
Berkshire Billion Dollar Share Buy Back

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK-A:NYSE) (BRK-B:NYSE), controlled by Warren Buffett, announced on Wednesday that they bought 9,200 of its Class A shares for $131,000 per share from the estate of a long-time un-named shareholder. Trading was halted on the New York Stock Exchange and after the announcement when trading resumed, both class of shares reopened to the upside. Berkshire 's board of directors authorized the purchase "coincident with raising the price limit for repurchases to 120% of book value" and said it may buy additional shares in the market or through direct offerings at no more than 120% of book value.

Reports on Wednesday indicate executives at Big Lots (BIG:NYSE) sold more than $23 million in stock, outside of preset trading plans, ahead of an announcement that caused the retailer's stock price to go down. Per regulatory filings, a stock sale by the 10 executives amounted to the largest bulk of unplanned trading reported in a single month over the past eight years. Regulators are probing a $10 million sale of Big Lots stock by Steven Fishman, the chief executive of the company.

Text of the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate decision announced Wednesday:
“Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in October suggests that economic activity and employment have continued to expand at a moderate pace in recent months, apart from weather-related disruptions. Although the unemployment rate has declined somewhat since the summer, it remains elevated. Household spending has continued to advance, and the housing sector has shown further signs of improvement, but growth in business fixed investment has slowed. Inflation has been running somewhat below the Committee’s longer-run objective, apart from temporary variations that largely reflect fluctuations in energy prices. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable. Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee remains concerned that, without sufficient policy accommodation, economic growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions. Furthermore, strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook. The Committee also anticipates that inflation over the medium term likely will run at or below its 2 percent objective. To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee will continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. The Committee also will purchase longer-term Treasury securities after its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of Treasury securities is completed at the end of the year, initially at a pace of $45 billion per month. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and, in January, will resume rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. Taken together, these actions should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative. The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months. If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will, as always, take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases. To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that this exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6-1/2 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored. The Committee views these thresholds as consistent with its earlier date-based guidance. In determining how long to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy, the Committee will also consider other information, including additional measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments. When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent. Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Dennis P. Lockhart; Sandra Pianalto; Jerome H. Powell; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; John C. Williams; and Janet L. Yellen. Voting against the action was Jeffrey M. Lacker, who opposed the asset purchase program and the characterization of the conditions under which an exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate.”

The New York Fed said it would buy 29% of the $45 billion in new Treasurys in the 7-to-10 year maturity and 27% in the 20-30 year maturity. Other maturities range from 4-4.75 years, 4.75-5.75 years, 5.75-7 years, 10-20 years, and 4-30 year TIPS.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that prices paid for goods imported into the U.S. fell 0.9% in November, mainly because of lower energy costs. The import-price index for October was revised down to an increase of 0.3% from an initial reading of 0.5%. Import prices fell by 0.2% during November, excluding fuel. Cost of fuel fell 3.0% during November. The price of U.S. made goods exported to other nations fell 0.7% during November.


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Dec 12, 2012


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