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Posts Tagged ‘Warren Buffett’

Trusting Yourself, by Warren Buffett.

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

“I have this complicated procedure that I go through every morning, which is to look in the mirror and decide what I’m going to do. And I feel at that point, everybody’s had their say.”

– Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett on Common Stocks.

April 20, 2010 Leave a comment

“We select our marketable equity securities in much the same way we would evaluate a business for acquisition in its entirety. We want the business to be (1) one that we can understand, (2) with favorable long-term prospects, (3) operated by honest and competent people, and (4) available at a very attractive price. We ordinarily make no attempt to buy equities for anticipated favorable stock price behavior in the short term.  In fact, if their business experience continues to satisfy us, we welcome lower market prices of stocks we own as an opportunity to acquire even more of a good thing at a better price.

Our experience has been that pro-rata portions of truly outstanding businesses sometimes sell in the securities markets at very large discounts from the prices they would command in negotiated transactions involving entire companies. Consequently, bargains in business ownership, which simply are not available directly through corporate acquisition, can be obtained indirectly through stock ownership.  When prices are appropriate, we are willing to take very large positions in selected companies, not with any intention of taking control and not foreseeing sell-out or merger, but with the expectation that excellent business results by corporations will translate over the long term into correspondingly excellent market value and dividend results for owners, minority as well as majority.”

– Warren Buffett, 1977 BRK Annual Report

Warren Buffett on The Direction of the Market.

April 16, 2010 Leave a comment

“We make no attempt to predict how security markets will behave; successfully forecasting short term stock price movements is something we think neither we nor anyone else can do.

This program of acquisition of small fractions of businesses (common stocks) at bargain prices, for which little enthusiasm exists, contrasts sharply with general corporate acquisition activity, for which much enthusiasm exists.  It seems quite clear to us that either corporations are making very significant mistakes in purchasing entire businesses at prices prevailing in negotiated transactions and takeover bids, or that we eventually are going to make considerable sums of money buying small portions of such businesses at the greatly discounted valuations prevailing in the stock market.

We are not concerned with whether the market quickly revalues upward securities that we believe are selling at bargain prices.  In fact, we prefer just the opposite since, in most years, we expect to have funds available to be a net buyer of securities.  And consistent attractive purchasing is likely to prove to be of more eventual benefit to us than any selling opportunities provided by a short-term run up in stock prices to levels at which we are unwilling to continue buying.

Our policy is to concentrate holdings.  We try to avoid buying a little of this or that when we are only lukewarm about the business or its price.  When we are convinced as to attractiveness, we believe in buying worthwhile amounts.”

– Warren Buffett, 1978 BRK Annual Report

Warren Buffett on Market Fluctuations.

April 14, 2010 Leave a comment

“A short quiz: If you plan to eat hamburgers throughout your life and are not a cattle producer, should you wish for higher or lower prices for beef? Likewise, if you are going to buy a car from time to time but are not an auto manufacturer, should you prefer higher or lower car prices? These questions, of course, answer themselves.

But now for the final exam: If you expect to be a net saver during the next five years, should you hope for a higher or lower stock market during that period? Many investors get this one wrong. Even though they are going to be net buyers of stocks for many years to come, they are elated when stock prices rise and depressed when they fall. In effect, they rejoice because prices have risen for the “hamburgers” they will soon be buying. This reaction makes no sense. Only those who will be sellers of equities in the near future should be happy at seeing stocks rise. Prospective purchasers should much prefer sinking prices.

So smile when you read a headline that says “Investors lose as market falls.” Edit it in your mind to “Disinvestors lose as market falls — but investors gain.” Though writers often forget this truism, there is a buyer for every seller and what hurts one necessarily helps the other. (As they say in golf matches: “Every putt makes someone happy.”) ”

– Warren Buffett, 1997 BRK Annual Report

Mr. Market, by Warren Buffett.

April 12, 2010 Leave a comment

“Ben Graham, my friend and teacher, long ago described the mental attitude toward market fluctuations that I believe to be most conducive to investment success.  He said that you should imagine market quotations as coming from a remarkably accommodating fellow named Mr. Market who is your partner in a private business.  Without fail, Mr. Market appears daily and names a price at which he will either buy your interest or sell you his.

Even though the business that the two of you own may have economic characteristics that are stable, Mr. Market’s quotations will be anything but.  For, sad to say, the poor fellow has incurable emotional problems.  At times he feels euphoric and can see only the favorable factors affecting the business.  When in that mood, he names a very high buy-sell price because he fears that you will snap up his interest and rob him of imminent gains.  At other times he is depressed and can see nothing but trouble ahead for both the business and the world.  On these occasions he will name a very low price, since he is terrified that you will unload your interest on him.

Mr. Market has another endearing characteristic: He doesn’t mind being ignored.  If his quotation is uninteresting to you today, he will be back with a new one tomorrow.  Transactions are strictly at your option.  Under these conditions, the more manic-depressive his behavior, the better for you.

But, like Cinderella at the ball, you must heed one warning or everything will turn into pumpkins and mice: Mr. Market is there to serve you, not to guide you.  It is his pocketbook, not his wisdom, that you will find useful.  If he shows up some day in a particularly foolish mood, you are free to either ignore him or to take advantage of him, but it will be disastrous if you fall under his influence.  Indeed, if you aren’t certain that you understand and can value your business far better than Mr. Market, you don’t belong in the game.  As they say in poker, “If you’ve been in the game 30 minutes and you don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.”

– Warren Buffett, 1987 BRK Annual Report

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Ben Graham, my friend and teacher, long ago described the mental attitude toward market fluctuations that I believe to be most conducive to investment success.  He said that you should imagine market quotations as coming from a remarkably accommodating fellow named Mr. Market who is your partner in a private business.  Without fail, Mr. Market appears daily and names a price at which he will either buy your interest or sell you his. 
 
Even though the business that the two of you own may have economic characteristics that are stable, Mr. Market's quotations will be anything but.  For, sad to say, the poor fellow has incurable emotional problems.  At times he feels euphoric and can see only the favorable factors affecting the business.  When in that mood, he names a very high buy-sell price because he fears that you will snap up his interest and rob him of imminent gains.  At other times he is depressed and can see nothing but trouble ahead for both the business and the world.  On these occasions he will name a very low price, since he is terrified that you will 
unload your interest on him. 
 
Mr. Market has another endearing characteristic: He doesn't mind being ignored.  If his quotation is uninteresting to you today, he will be back with a new one tomorrow.  Transactions are strictly at your option.  Under these conditions, the more manic-depressive his behavior, the better for you. 
 
But, like Cinderella at the ball, you must heed one warning or everything will turn into pumpkins and mice: Mr. Market is there to serve you, not to guide you.  It is his pocketbook, not his wisdom, that you will find useful.  If he shows up some day in a particularly foolish mood, you are free to either ignore him or to take advantage of him, but it will be disastrous if you fall under his influence.  Indeed, if you aren't certain that you understand and can value your business far better than Mr. Market, you don't belong in the game.  As they say in poker, "If you've been in the game 30 minutes and you don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy." 

On Genies, Girls, and Cars. Well, Not Really.

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment

“When I was sixteen, I had just two things on my mind — girls and cars. I wasn’t very good with girls. So I thought about cars. I thought about girls too, but I had more luck with cars.

“Let’s say that when I turned sixteen, a genie had appeared before me. And that genie said, ‘Warren, I’m going to give you a car of your choice. It’ll be here tomorrow morning with a big bow tied on it. Brand-new. And its all yours.’

“Having heard all the genie stories, I would say, ‘What’s the catch?’ And the genie would answer, ‘There’s only one catch. This is the last car you’ve ever going to get in your life. So it’s got to last a lifetime.’

“If that had happened, I would have picked out that car. But can you imagine, knowing it had to last a lifetime, what I would do with it?

“I would read the manual about five times. I would always keep it garaged. If there was the least little dent or scratch, I’d have it fixed right away because I wouldn’t want it rusting. I would baby that car, because it would have to last a lifetime.

“That’s exactly the position you are in concerning your mind and body. You only get one mind and one body. Now, it’s very easy to let them ride for many years. But if you don’t take care of that mind and that body, they’ll be a wreck forty years later, just like the car would be.

“It’s what you do right now, today, that determines how your mind and body will operate ten, twenty, and thirty years from now.”

– Warren Buffett