What does Warren Buffett, billionaire investor and economic soothsayer, like this week? Buffett likes Japan. "If I owned Japanese stocks, I would certainly not be selling them," he said Monday from South Korea. "Frequently, something out of the blue like this, an extraordinary event, really creates a buying opportunity. I've seen that happen in the United States, I've seen it happen around the world, and I don't think Japan will be an exception." The Nikkei stock index rose 4.4% on Tuesday, an uptick that's been linked to Buffett's comments.
Buffett also likes the U.S. economy. It's "getting better month by month," he said at a press conference in Bangalore on Tuesday. Americans are hard at work "thinking about how to do something better tomorrow than they’ve done today," and "the most important factor is the really underlying resilience of capitalism." (Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway, happens to have had an awesome 2010, posting $13 billion in profits and locking in the biggest acquisition of Buffett's career, the railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe.)
And Buffett likes India, kind of. On his first-ever trip to the country this week, he was quoted as saying, "I don't consider India as an emerging market, I consider India as a very big market ... We continue to look at large countries like India." Elsewhere, in a less coy moment, Buffett said that "India is a very logical place to look so I hope I spend some money here." But he hinted that he's not crazy about the national rule that caps foreign ownership of insurance ventures at 26 percent, and he sidestepped a few questions from reporters. How can India attract more investors, Mr. Buffett? "India has done pretty well without my advice so far." What will you talk about when you meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh? "We’ll be talking about what the prime minister wants to talk about."
One thing Warren Buffett definitely still doesn't like: Apple. He said on Monday that he'll continue to stay out of tech stocks because he finds it hard to predict their long-term behavior. "Even though Apple may have the most wonderful future in the world, I’m not capable of bringing any drink to that particular party and evaluating that future,” Buffett told reporters in South Korea. “I simply look at businesses where I think I have some understanding of what they might look like in five or 10 years.”