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Buffett takes contrarian path with Japan resource trader stakes

Pandemic spurs Berkshire Hathaway to diversify US-centric portfolio

Warren Buffett said he hopes for "opportunities of mutual benefit" with this rare overseas investment by Berkshire Hathaway.   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has bucked the trend of socially responsible investing by acquiring 5%-plus stakes in five Japanese trading houses deeply involved in fossil-fuel-linked businesses.

Buffett's contrarian bets sent shares in the five companies -- Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co., and Sumitomo Corp. -- soaring in the Tokyo market on Monday, even though their earnings have been languishing amid low resource prices.

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