May 5, 1998 5:50 AM PDT
The comments from the billionaire financier, dubbed the Oracle of Omaha, came at Berkshire Hathaway's annual stockholders meeting yesterday.
On whether the firm will invest in computer-related companies, Bloomberg quoted chairman Buffett as saying: "The answer is no, and it's probably unfortunate. I don't know what that world will look like in 10 years, and I don't want to play in a game where the other guy has an advantage over me."
Added Charles Munger, Berkshire Hathaway's vice chairman: "Whatever you think you know about technology, I probably know less."
Buffett, a friend of Gates, is one of the best known investors who has missed out on the big runup in tech stocks. Instead, he has chosen to buy shares such as Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and Gillette--businesses that he understands.
Microsoft's market value now exceeds that of Coke, but Berkshire Hathaway (built on a portfolio of Buffett's favorite investments) remains a highly successful buy--for those who can afford to pay $69,100 for its Class A shares.
When it comes to Internet stocks such as Yahoo, Buffett, 67, was much more skeptical.
"If I taught a class, on my final exam I would take an Internet company and ask [my students], 'How much is this company worth?'" the Associated Press quoted Buffett as stating. "Anyone who would answer I would flunk."
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