"Sometimes Mr. Market behaves like 'a psychotic drunk'"

Live-blogging Buffettpalooza


Carol Loomis presents a question from a shareholder who asks why Berkshire shares have been undervalued for so long. Mr. Buffett responds by taking an even longer view. “We’ve run Berkshire for 47 years. There have been four or five times where we thought it was significantly undervalued,” he says. “The beauty of stocks is they do sell for silly prices from time to time. That’s how Charlie and I have gotten rich.” Then he turns to his usual speech about investing in stocks, giving a shout-out to Ben Graham’s idea of Mr. Market, which he says investors should think of as their partner. The beauty of having Mr. Market as a partner, he says, is that sometimes Mr. Market behaves like “a psychotic drunk.”
Comment: An "Oracle of Omaha" moment. More: On Wells Fargo:
Asked why he bought J.P. Morgan Chase stock for his personal account but not for Berkshire Hathaway, Mr. Buffett explains that he prefers Wells Fargo -- of which the company owns 400 million shares worth $11 billion or so at year-end -- better. "My best ideas are all in Berkshire," he says. "That I can promise you." "I know Wells better and it's easier to understand," he says, adding that he bought Wells Fargo in the first quarter.
On Wal-Mart:
"I don't think there's something fundamentally dishonorable about Wal-Mart," Mr. Munger says. At companies of the scale of Wal-Mart or Berkshire, with 270,000 workers, "I guarantee someone is doing something wrong right now," Mr. Buffett says. "I guarantee 20 people are doing something wrong."
On Investing:
"Investing is not really that complicated," ... Mr. Buffett says patience is the key virtue in investing, and that those who understand the market is a tool rather than an adviser will do well over time. The market is often wrong for a variety of reasons, he says, and those who bear that in mind can take advantage of the market's pluses, such as transparent prices and liquidity.
On Prostate Cancer:
"I have four doctors. At least a few of them own Berkshire Hathaway, though I don't screen them." He and his family listened to doctors a few weeks ago. His plan says survival rate is above 99%. "Maybe I will get shot by a jealous husband," Mr. Buffett says. Mr. Munger says he doesn't know if he has prostate cancer "because I don't let them test for it."

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