buffett sees little to invest in

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    EW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett (News) sees very few attractive investments at the moment, and is sitting tight on a $24 billion war chest.

    The billionaire investor and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway said in an interview with Barron's that he is not impressed with the current opportunities in stocks, Treasury bonds or junk debt.

    "We've got more cash than ideas. The question is whether that will prevail for an unduly long time," he told Barron's.

    In fact, Berkshire sold $9 billion of long-term Treasury bonds this year, and Buffett said buying at current levels is not a wise move, according to the report, which appeared in the Oct. 27 edition of the newspaper.

    Buffett expressed regret about not selling shares of big companies like Coca-Cola Co. and Gillette Co. when those stocks crested in the late 1990s.

    He added that such sales would have been complicated by the fact that he sat on both companies' boards at the time, raising possible red flags about insider trading.

    He said he erred in not buying shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. years ago, because he viewed the stock as overvalued. That miscalculation cost Berkshire $8 billion, he told Barron's.

    Buffett was upbeat about the insurance businesses that make up the most important part of his company. Those units include auto insurer Geico and global reinsurer General Re Corp.

    He also complimented rival car insurers Progressive Corp. and Mercury General Corp., praising Progressive's strong systems and Mercury's CEO George Joseph, according to Barron's.


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