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passion & ambition





2008-10-28 22:21:59|  分类: 股市 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Buy American. I Am.

New York Times, Published: October 16, 2008
Times Topics: Warren E. Buffett
THE financial world is a mess, both in the United States and abroad. Its problems, moreover, have been leaking into the general economy, and the leaks are now turning into a gusher. In the near term, unemployment will rise, business activity will falter and headlines will continue to be scary.
So ... I've been buying American stocks. This is my personal account I'm talking about, in which I previously owned nothing but United States government bonds. (This description leaves aside my Berkshire Hathaway holdings, which are all committed to philanthropy.) If prices keep looking attractive, my non-Berkshire net worth will soon be 100 percent in United States equities.
A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, fear is now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors. To be sure, investors are right to be wary of highly leveraged entities or businesses in weak competitive positions. But fears regarding the long-term prosperity of the nation's many sound companies make no sense. These businesses will indeed suffer earnings hiccups, as they always have. But most major companies will be setting new profit records 5, 10 and 20 years from now.
Let me be clear on one point: I can't predict the short-term movements of the stock market. I haven't the faintest idea as to whether stocks will be higher or lower a month ― or a year ― from now. What is likely, however, is that the market will move higher, perhaps substantially so, well before either sentiment or the economy turns up. So if you wait for the robins, spring will be over.
A little history here: During the Depression, the Dow hit its low, 41, on July 8, 1932. Economic conditions, though, kept deteriorating until Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in March 1933. By that time, the market had already advanced 30 percent. Or think back to the early days of World War II, when things were going badly for the United States in Europe and the Pacific. The market hit bottom in April 1942, well before Allied fortunes turned. Again, in the early 1980s, the time to buy stocks was when inflation raged and the economy was in the tank. In short, bad news is an investor's best friend. It lets you buy a slice of America's future at a marked-down price.
Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497.
You might think it would have been impossible for an investor to lose money during a century marked by such an extraordinary gain. But some investors did. The hapless ones bought stocks only when they felt comfort in doing so and then proceeded to sell when the headlines made them queasy.
Today people who hold cash equivalents feel comfortable. They shouldn't. They have opted for a terrible long-term asset, one that pays virtually nothing and is certain to depreciate in value. Indeed, the policies that government will follow in its efforts to alleviate the current crisis will probably prove inflationary and therefore accelerate declines in the real value of cash accounts.
Equities will almost certainly outperform cash over the next decade, probably by a substantial degree. Those investors who cling now to cash are betting they can efficiently time their move away from it later. In waiting for the comfort of good news, they are ignoring Wayne Gretzky's advice: "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been."
I don't like to opine on the stock market, and again I emphasize that I have no idea what the market will do in the short term. Nevertheless, I'll follow the lead of a restaurant that opened in an empty bank building and then advertised: "Put your mouth where your money was." Today my money and my mouth both say equities.
Warren E. Buffett is the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, a diversified holding company.
Times Topics > People > B > Buffett, Warren E.
Warren E. Buffett
Warren E. Buffett is a legendary investor whose folksy image and crafty acquisition strategies have given Berkshire Hathaway a unique cachet among the nation's largest companies.
While Berkshire is best known for its insurance operations, its holdings include such varied interests as Benjamin Moore paints, See's Candies, Dairy Queen and NetJets. Its stock is not priced for the fainthearted ― in excess of $100,000 a share ― and those who hold it have become devoted followers of its chief. His management style is noted for a homespun annual letter to shareholders and a yearly investor gathering that some came to refer to as Buffettpalooza.
In the wreckage left by the housing bust, Mr. Buffett emerged in 2008 as the banker of choice to embattled blue-chip companies during the credit crisis that ensued. In September he made what may be the boldest play of his career, investing $5 billion in Goldman Sachs in the midst of a Wall Street panic.
And eight days later, he announced that he would invest $3 billion in General Electric. The industrial giant had been potentially vulnerable to the credit squeeze because of GE Capital, whose global portfolio spans aircraft leasing, commercial real estate, credit cards and home mortgages.
For both investments, Mr. Buffett drove a hard bargain and extracted favorable terms. His investments, analysts say, are based on the assumption that the companies would come through the financial turmoil in good shape.
In 1990, a profile in The New York Times said of Mr. Buffett:
"His discipline as an investor, his devotion to a rational, coherent strategy, are legendary. As a shrewd purchaser of stock and, on occasion, whole companies, he has compiled a record of unparalleled success. Yet in many ways, he is very different from the popular image of the financial titan.
"With his off-the-rack suits and unruly, thinning hair, Buffett resembles nothing so much as a mildly eccentric clerk in a discount shoe store. He lives in a middle-class Omaha neighborhood in the house that he bought in 1958 for $31,500. He collects model trains. In fact, he has sometimes been portrayed as the quintessential cornfed, 'aw-shucks' hick. Nothing could be further from the truth."
Mr. Buffett's investment philosophy owes much to Benjamin Graham, regarded as the father of modern securities analysis, who saw the stock market as a highly irrational place where a disciplined, rational investor could thrive. Mr. Buffett looks for what he has called "sleeping beauties" ― stocks selling substantially below book value. Notably, he has made large stock purchases in companies threatened by takeover, receiving financial concessions in exchange.
As Mr. Buffett's wealth has soared, he has become perhaps the most widely admired member of the financial community.
He has won plaudits for what he has done with his wealth ― donating the bulk of his fortune, about $37 billion, and not to a foundation with his name on it, but to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an arrangement he saw as more efficient. He has also won praise for what he has not done ― notably, for avoiding both the tech bubble of the late 1990s and the housing/mortgage bubble that followed. (Oct. 9, 2008)



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