Warren Buffett to retire from Kraft Heinz

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett visits the BNSF booth before the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha Nebraska

"A large portion of our gain did not come from anything we accomplished at Berkshire", he wrote, adding that about $29 billion of that $65.3 billion gain came from changes to the tax law.

On acquisitions, too-high prices were a barrier to almost all deals Berkshire looked at a year ago, says Buffett. Berkshire typically pays all cash for acquisitions.

"The deferred taxes that are applicable to unrealized gains on securities would all be applicable to us", Buffett said during Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholders meeting.

Buffett often invests in stocks when he can not find whole companies to buy.

He also leveled criticism at what he called the "can-do" type of Wall Street CEO, who he said can be over eager to justify gobbling up another company.

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At age 87, "he doesn't want to make any enemies", said Bill Smead, chief executive of Smead Capital Management in Seattle, a Berkshire investor.

It's important to remember that even Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) hasn't been immune to significant swings in its stock price either.

It has been more than two years since Berkshire made a major purchase, the $32.1bn takeover of aircraft parts maker Precision Castparts. "Each has been with Berkshire for decades, and Berkshire's blood flows through their veins".

Full-year earnings from BNSF, the company's railroad, climbed 11 percent to about $4 billion in 2017 compared to a year earlier.

Buffett also warned long-term investors including pension funds, college endowments and "savings-minded individuals" that even with USA stock prices near record highs, it would be a "terrible mistake" to assume bonds are safer.

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"It is a bad mistake for investors with long-term horizons.to measure their investment "risk" by their portfolio's ratio of bonds to stocks", Buffett wrote in the February 24 letter.

Operating profit, which Buffett considers a better gauge of performance, fell more than analysts expected in the fourth quarter, and slid 18 percent for the year to $14.46 billion.

As for Berkshire's insurance business, buffett writes that he has warned in the past how fortunate the company has been in recent years, but last year's hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico resulted in losses that may total around $100 billion, and even that may be "off the market", Buffett said.

Insurance float, or premiums collected before claims are paid, which gives Buffett more money to invest, was about $114bn at year end.

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