As the fourth richest person in the world today -- even after giving away roughly $24 billion of his shares in Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)(NYSE:BRK.B) so far -- it's no surprise that Warren Buffett has his every move followed so closely by investors around the world.
Sure, a simple Web search makes it easy to figure out what Buffett has been up to over the past few years. But the real challenge is determining what the Oracle of Omaha will (or won't) do going forward.
Here are three Buffett predictions, then, for the remainder of 2013.
1. Buffett will be a net seller of stocks
First, though retail investors currently seem to be piling into the market in droves, I think this is exactly the time Buffett will decide to put the brakes on his own equity purchases.
Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't deals to be found picking individual stocks, but it's no mystery that Buffett prefers to buy "when there's blood in the streets" -- and it's hard to argue that's currently the case, with the stock market currently trading near all-time highs.
Then again, as fellow Fool Matt Koppenheffer pointed out last week, there was some easy-to-miss language in Berkshire's recent SEC filings indicating that Buffett probably made an enormous, undisclosed purchase last quarter. However, the last time that happened was back in 2011, when Buffett unveiled his enormous 5.5% stake in tech giant IBM (NYSE:IBM), which most recently stood as Berkshire's third-largest position and was worth more than $13 billion at the end of last quarter.
But the fact Buffett almost certainly put additional billions to work in a yet-to-be-named stock in Q2 only reinforces the notion he'll be more likely to build his cash position going forward, all as he waits patiently for the next market meltdown to occur.
2. Berkshire won't announce Buffett's successor
Next, though Buffett already confirmed during Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting in May he knows who his successor will be, don't count on hearing him share who it is before 2013 comes to a close.
After all, considering Buffett has already stated that he and Berkshire's board are comfortable with their choice and "100 percent in agreement as to who [his] successor should be," there's no reason they would want to create an unnecessary distraction by disclosing that information while the capable-as-ever Buffett is still at the helm.
Come to think of it, provided the 82-year-old CEO doesn't encounter an insurmountable health crisis in the near future, I wouldn't be surprised if Buffett withheld the name for at least the next several years.
That said, for those of you who still feel the need to guess, Buffett did confirm in a June email to the Omaha World Herald that his successor is male, ruling out speculation that Berkshire's young rising star in Tracy Britt would soon fill his shoes.
3. See's Candies will be just fine
Finally, and on a sweeter note, I'm going to step out on a (very short) limb to predict that Berkshire's See's Candies subsidiary will be just fine in spite of last week's significant chocolate recall.
But don't get me wrong: The recall was indeed unsettling, considering a customer reported having a severe allergic reaction to See's Dark Chocolate Blueberries, which was pegged down to milk -- an ingredient that had been omitted on the label.
OK, I admit this isn't much of a "prediction." It is, however, a perfect opportunity to highlight the fact that, through thick and thin, Buffett sticks by the companies Berkshire acquires. Remember, Buffett purchased See's Candies through Berkshire way back in 1972, and the company has long stood as the poster child for Uncle Warren's undying approval.
But that loyalty doesn't stop with See's. In 2008, Buffett described the companies he buys as works of art, using the following quirky analogy:
You can sell it to Berkshire, and we'll put it in the Metropolitan Museum; it'll have a wing all by itself; it'll be there forever. Or you can sell it to some porn shop operator, and he'll take the painting and he'll make the boobs a little bigger and he'll stick it up in the window, and some other guy will come along in a raincoat, and he'll buy it.
Apart from invoking the undeniable urge to wash your hands, that description makes it all too clear that despite any short-term missteps, See's Candies -- and every other company Berkshire owns, for that matter -- should have no problem surviving and thriving for the foreseeable future.