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onsdag 5 mars 2014

Buffetts tankar om investering från Berkshire Hathaways brev till aktieägarna 2013

I Berkshire Hathaways senaste brev till aktieägarna har Warren Buffett ägnat några sidor åt sina tankar kring investering. Inget nytt om man läst något av Buffett tidigare men ändå intressant läsning och väl värt att nämna igen och upprepa för sig själv inte minst. Tankarna är klart inspirerade av Benjamin Graham, och Buffett nämner själv att den bästa investering han någonsin gjort var att köpa Grahams bok "The Intelligent Investor" 1949.

Brevet till aktieägarna finns här:

Buffett börjar med en liten historia om två fastighetsinvesteringar han gjort utan att ha någon expertkunskap utan det räckte att han kunde räkna ut att det inte fanns någon vidare nedsida i investeringarna och det fanns en potentiellt stor uppsida. Han var också inställd på att vara långsiktig och rida ut eventuella upp- och nedgångar. Det blev bra affärer och han äger fortfarande fastigheterna.

Han berättar dessa historier för att illustrera nedanstående investeringsgrunder som jag klipper in direkt ifrån brevet.
  • You don’t need to be an expert in order to achieve satisfactory investment returns. But if you aren’t, you must recognize your limitations and follow a course certain to work reasonably well. Keep things simple and don’t swing for the fences. When promised quick profits, respond with a quick “no.”
  • Focus on the future productivity of the asset you are considering. If you don’t feel comfortable making a rough estimate of the asset’s future earnings, just forget it and move on. No one has the ability to evaluate every investment possibility. But omniscience isn’t necessary; you only need to understand the actions you undertake.
  • If you instead focus on the prospective price change of a contemplated purchase, you are speculating. There is nothing improper about that. I know, however, that I am unable to speculate successfully, and I am skeptical of those who claim sustained success at doing so. Half of all coin-flippers will win their first toss; none of those winners has an expectation of profit if he continues to play the game. And the fact that a given asset has appreciated in the recent past is never a reason to buy it.
  • With my two small investments, I thought only of what the properties would produce and cared not at all about their daily valuations. Games are won by players who focus on the playing field – not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard. If you can enjoy Saturdays and Sundays without looking at stock prices, give it a try on weekdays.
  • Forming macro opinions or listening to the macro or market predictions of others is a waste of time. Indeed, it is dangerous because it may blur your vision of the facts that are truly important. (When I hear TV commentators glibly opine on what the market will do next, I am reminded of Mickey Mantle’s scathing comment: “You don’t know how easy this game is until you get into that broadcasting booth.”)
  • My two purchases were made in 1986 and 1993. What the economy, interest rates, or the stock market might do in the years immediately following – 1987 and 1994 – was of no importance to me in making those investments. I can’t remember what the headlines or pundits were saying at the time. Whatever the chatter, corn would keep growing in Nebraska and students would flock to NYU.
Efter grunderna berättar han lite om "fördelen" med aktier som ständigt värderas varje dag jämfört med fastigheter. En fördel som ofta är en nackdel då människor ofta agerar för snabbt och irrationellt på informationen.

Vidare berättar han om hur han och hans affärspartner tänker när de investerar:

"When Charlie and I buy stocks – which we think of as small portions of businesses – our analysis is very similar to that which we use in buying entire businesses. We first have to decide whether we can sensibly estimate an earnings range for five years out, or more. If the answer is yes, we will buy the stock (or business) if it sells at a reasonable price in relation to the bottom boundary of our estimate. If, however, we lack the ability to estimate future earnings – which is usually the case – we simply move on to other prospects. In the 54 years we have worked together, we have never  foregone an attractive purchase because of the macro or political environment, or the views of other people. In fact, these subjects never come up when we make decisions.

It’s vital, however, that we recognize the perimeter of our “circle of competence” and stay well inside of it. Even then, we will make some mistakes, both with stocks and businesses. But they will not be the disasters that occur, for example, when a long-rising market induces purchases that are based on anticipated price behavior and a desire to be where the action is.

Most investors, of course, have not made the study of business prospects a priority in their lives. If wise, they will conclude that they do not know enough about specific businesses to predict their future earning power.

I have good news for these non-professionals: The typical investor doesn’t need this skill. In aggregate, American business has done wonderfully over time and will continue to do so (though, most assuredly, in unpredictable  fits and starts). In the 20th  Century, the Dow Jones Industrials index advanced from 66 to 11,497, paying a rising stream of dividends to boot. The 21st  Century will witness further gains, almost certain to be substantial. The goal of the non-professional should not be to pick winners – neither he nor his “helpers” can do that – but should rather be to own a cross-section of businesses that in aggregate are bound to do well. A low-cost S&P 500 index fund will achieve this goal.

That’s the “what” of investing for the non-professional. The “when” is also important. The main danger is that the timid or beginning investor will enter the market at a time of extreme exuberance and then become disillusioned when paper losses occur. (Remember the late Barton Biggs’ observation: “A bull market is like sex. It feels best just before it ends.”) The antidote to that kind of mistiming is for an investor to accumulate shares over a long period and never to sell when the news is bad and stocks are well off their highs. Following those rules, the “know-nothing” investor who both diversifies and keeps his costs minimal  is virtually certain to get satisfactory results. Indeed, the unsophisticated investor who is realistic about his shortcomings is likely to obtain better longterm results than the knowledgeable professional who is blind to even a single weakness."

Det blev ett långt inlägg men jag ville få med det jag tycker är viktigt för att kunna se tillbaks på det då och då och införliva det i min egen strategi. Det finns mycket annat som är intressant och jag har klippt lite så läs hela brevet!

Jag undrar om jag själv kommer äga Berkshire Hathaway-aktier någon gång. Antagligen inte A-aktien som idag kostar $177989 i så fall. :)

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