Buffett says market ‘almost totally a casino’ as it rallied in recent years

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Warren Buffett on Saturday said US financial markets had become “almost totally a casino” as millions of new traders flooded into the financial system during the pandemic.

The billionaire and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, speaking in Omaha to thousands of shareholders gathered for the company’s annual meeting, added that “extraordinary” activity had been “encouraged by Wall Street because the money is in turning over stocks”.

The comments follow a dramatic shift in how people across the globe are interacting with their finances. Americans have opened millions of brokerage accounts since the start of the pandemic, with many turning to options markets to bet on the quick rise or fall in companies such as Apple and Tesla.

Buffett and his consigliere, Berkshire vice-chair Charlie Munger, credited the rapid pace of trading and the fact that many holders of some stocks were not long-term investors for the company’s ability to…

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