If I had to grade this weekend’s "Woodstock of Capitalism" – aka the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting – I would slap it with a solid B.
Was this Buffett’s most headline-grabbing annual meeting? I have listened to/watched enough of these spectacles in the past decade to say emphatically: No. Personally, I liked his annual meeting in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic as he sought to rally the world.
Sure, Buffett railed against Wall Street (he hates paying fees to bankers, as seen once more in the Allegheny deal) by saying it’s a “gambling parlor” and bitcoin for it offering nothing of value. He scared the hell out of everyone (again) on potential nuclear war. Charlie Munger flipped the bird to Robinhood (more on that below).
But all of this felt very stale to me, just vintage Buffett and Munger. I would compare it to comedian Andrew Dice Clay going to his bag of nursery rhyme jokes to please long-time fans – they are proven winning lines. So from a headline standpoint, I give the annual meeting a solid C (tough grader I know, but whatever).
Where Buffett earned his A grade, however, was in the investing wisdom he imparted on the crowd. Nothing new per se, rather great reminders one day after the Dow Jones Industrial tanked 900 points and the Nasdaq Composite fell 4%.
A woman shows a card with photos of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger during the Shareholder Shopping Day at the Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting at CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska on April 29, 2022.
Here are three lessons Buffett served up:
1. Do Your Research
Buffett’s explanation on how he upped his stake in Occidental Petroleum to 14% of the company, underscored the need to do your own research and make it extensive if possible. Buffett saw 60% of the top holders in Occidental being no more than passive investors unlikely to take advantage of a dislocation in the stock price. So, Buffett saw that passiveness and a dislocation in the stock price, and went to work buying up everyone else’s shares not in that 60% group. Savvy.
2. Buy When Others Are Fearful
Falling markets haven’t deterred Buffett. In fact, this is the perfect environment for him…and it could be for you as well, provided you can have a time horizon of more than one-day. Buffett spent $51 billion to buy stocks in the first quarter, notably HP, Chevron and the aforementioned Occidental.
Ask yourself this question this morning: What would Warren Buffett be doing after Friday’s big down day in the markets? The answer is probably not preparing for a stock market crash because a free newsletter is warning of one (not this one of course). No, Buffett is probably licking his chops as names he is watching have just gotten cheaper.
3. Buy Stock of Companies You Understand
Buffett mentioned he doesn’t know how to use email and has documents printed out for him. With that context, is it any surprise Buffett became the largest shareholder in printer maker HP in the first quarter? Nope. Meanwhile, Buffett has a unique view of demand for fossil fuels by way of his ownership of railroad Burlington Northern (and his other industrial companies). Is it any shock he's been plowing billions into Chevron and Occidental? Nope.
Bottom line is Buffett has long purchased stocks of companies he understands. It’s a wise course of action for you as well.
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Article initially appeared on yahoo.com
Credit: yahoo.com, MSNBC
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