Warren Buffetin kirje Berkshire Hathawayn osakkaille 2023
THE INTELLIGENT INVESTOR
Wisdom from Warren
By Jason Zweig
In the fuss and bother of work and life, it can be hard to set a few minutes aside just to read and think. So maybe you haven’t yet had the chance to read Warren Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s shareholders, which he released on Feb. 25.
Four points jumped out at me.
If you want to make fewer mistakes, make fewer decisions. Mr. Buffett, who’s run Berkshire for 58 years, wrote:
Most of my capital-allocation decisions have been no better than so-so. In some cases, also, bad moves by me have been rescued by very large doses of luck.
…Our satisfactory results have been the product of about a dozen truly good decisions – that would be about one every five years.
Let that sink in:
One of the world’s best investors attributes nearly all his superior performance to approximately 12 decisions.
Warren Buffett gets good ideas roughly twice a decade.
If you’re getting what seem like good investing ideas twice a year, twice a month, twice a week, twice a day, twice an hour, how likely are they to make a meaningful, enduring contribution to your long-term results?
Photo: Johannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Buybacks aren’t all bad. As I recently pointed out, share repurchases are neither an evil nor a panacea. They can be abused. But, on average, buybacks don’t enrich insiders or starve companies of sorely needed capital.
Mr. Buffett put it succinctly:
Imagine, if you will, three fully-informed shareholders of a local auto dealership, one of whom manages the business. Imagine, further, that one of the passive owners wishes to sell his interest back to the company at a price attractive to the two continuing shareholders. When completed, has this transaction harmed anyone? Is the manager somehow favored over the continuing passive owners? Has the public been hurt?
The stock market is a yo-yo, but businesses aren’t. Mr. Buffett wrote:
We own publicly-traded stocks based on our expectations about their long-term businessperformance, not because we view them as vehicles for adroit purchases and sales. That point is crucial: Charlie [Munger, Mr. Buffett’s partner] and I are not stock-pickers; we are business-pickers.
It’s crucial to understand that stocks often trade at truly foolish prices, both high and low. “Efficient” markets exist only in textbooks. In truth, marketable stocks and bonds are baffling, their behavior usually understandable only in retrospect.
Just look at Berkshire Hathaway itself.
In 2022, Berkshire’s stock shot up almost 20% in less than three months. Then it fell by roughly 30% in the next three months. Then it gained more than 10%, fell back more than 10%, rose almost 20%, and finally faded a bit at year end.
The Wall Street Journal
When all was said and done, the stock gained 4% for the year.
What about the business? Did the fundamental value of Berkshire’s insurance and energy and manufacturing and real-estate and railroad businesses swing wildly up and down over the course of a single year?
Of course not.
You will never succeed as a long-term investor – and I happen to think there’s no other kind – unless you learn to look past the spasmodic behavior of stocks and focus instead on whether businesses have durable advantages.
Finally, the stock market is the perfect place for patience. Mr. Buffett (who was born in 1930) pointed out that he’s been investing for 80 years:
The weeds wither away in significance as the flowers bloom. Over time, it takes just a few winners to work wonders. And, yes, it helps to start early and live into your 90s as well.
Unless you use leverage, or borrowed money, you can’t lose more than 100% on a stock. But your potential gains are unlimited.
So, if you put an equal amount of money into 10 stocks and nine go to zero, but you hold the other for decades and make 100 times what you initially paid for it, the value of your total investment will grow tenfold – even though you were wrong about almost everything.
People often complain that the stock market is a rigged game. And so it is. It’s rigged against the impatient – and in favor of those who can let their winners run. The longer you can let them run, the more rigged a game you get to play