Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the stock?

Discuss all general (i.e. non-personal) investing questions and issues, investing news, and theory.

Do you own shares of Berkshire Hathaway?

Yes
60
39%
No
93
61%
 
Total votes : 153

Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby TomatoTomahto » Sun May 05, 2013 2:53 pm

mmaguy wrote:Funny how so many bogleheads own Berkshire. Never seen it mentioned until this thread. I'd guess many people do not take the same advice they give.

I don't think that's fair. AFAIK, every BH that owns Berkshire (other than one, who also owns Apple in his "play funds") has pointed out that it is the only individual stock that they own. Berkshire has many attributes of a fund, and owns many businesses with a tilt towards some industries (insurance, railroads, food, etc.) -- it's a relatively diversified stock, and it is perfect in the tax sense. We also generally buy and hold.

It's not like we're day-trading Facebook shares :D
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby jwillis77373 » Sun May 05, 2013 3:37 pm

Not at all.

Bogle says Fees matter, low cost investing is low cost investing.

In a taxable account a "dividend" can be considered an unnecessary "Fee" as long as there are low cost alternatives.

Boglehead investing is not about picking a Fund or an Index, or an investment company or vehicle. Its all about low costs, low Fees and avoiding an innate tendency to time the market. You could extend that to avoiding funds that drive up their costs by Actively trading the Stocks that they hold and passing the costs along to the investors.

Saying "this time its different" can be carried to both extremes. As long as you invest based on your research and "stay the course" to a plan.

The principals are the same.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby SGM » Sun May 05, 2013 5:26 pm

Berkshire Hathaway became too large a part of our portfolio and we now only hold it within index funds. I would not be averse to owning it again if it looked like a screaming opportunity.
"Let us endeavor, so to live, that when we die, even the undertaker will be sorry." Mark Twain
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby 123 » Sun May 05, 2013 7:08 pm

I have a couple hundred Berkshire Hathaway "B" shares. It's far less then 5% of our portfolio. The rest of our portfolio is in index funds/etfs, mostly Vanguard. The Berkshire shares are the "spice" in the portfolio. We like things pretty plain. We got them to give us an opportunity to attend the annual meeting if we ever get around to it. It impresses my wife that we've got Berkshire shares. I don't expect to make a killing on them and don't particularly think they'll take a dive much faster or greater then the market as a whole. Primarily they serve an entertainment function, just something relatively safe to follow individually where we have skin in the game. One day perhaps I'll tell my teenage son when Warren is on TV that Warren is working for us. That right moment just hasn't happend yet.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby bogle2013 » Sun May 05, 2013 8:25 pm

at the end of the day, if the average investor had put every available $ to buy into BRK.b over the last few decades, and that is all they did, they would have done very well. as opposed to trying to decide btw intermediate or short term bonds, small value tilt or not, precious metals or emerging markets, etc... there are a lot worse investments than BRK. nothing to be ashamed of.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby racy » Sun May 05, 2013 8:43 pm

I bought 1 class A share in December 1987 for about $3700.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby zaboomafoozarg » Sun May 05, 2013 9:19 pm

I had never realized before that BRK.B makes up .5% of VTSMX. For some reason I didn't think it counted... not sure why, LOL.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby assumer » Sun May 05, 2013 9:28 pm

zaboomafoozarg wrote:I had never realized before that BRK.B makes up .5% of VTSMX. For some reason I didn't think it counted... not sure why, LOL.


So that means that the companies the Berkshire owns are "double" counted in VTSMX for example? As in, shares of Coca Cola are owned by VTSMX outright, and even more shares are owned indirectly by Berkshire, which also is in VTSMX?
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby zaboomafoozarg » Sun May 05, 2013 10:12 pm

assumer wrote:
zaboomafoozarg wrote:I had never realized before that BRK.B makes up .5% of VTSMX. For some reason I didn't think it counted... not sure why, LOL.


So that means that the companies the Berkshire owns are "double" counted in VTSMX for example? As in, shares of Coca Cola are owned by VTSMX outright, and even more shares are owned indirectly by Berkshire, which also is in VTSMX?


Ah yeah, that's why I didn't think it would in there - because I thought of it as a mutual fund. Looks like it's a holding company though, which isn't the same thing.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby talzara » Mon May 06, 2013 1:37 am

assumer wrote:So that means that the companies the Berkshire owns are "double" counted in VTSMX for example? As in, shares of Coca Cola are owned by VTSMX outright, and even more shares are owned indirectly by Berkshire, which also is in VTSMX?


The CRSP US Total Market Index is a float-adjusted index. Closely-held shares, such as those held by Berkshire Hathaway or shares held by insiders, are not included in the free float.

Thus, in the example you gave, the shares would not be included in the weighting of Coca-Cola. They would only be indirectly included as part of Berkshire Hathaway's market cap. For example, should Berkshire Hathaway ever be priced below liquidation value, then Coca-Cola would in some sense not be fully counted in the index.

However, this is consistent with the intention of the float-adjusted index, which seeks to capture the investable universe. It is Berkshire Hathaway that investors have the ability to purchase -- not the Coca-Cola shares that it owns. The shares held by Berkshire Hathaway are considered to be unavailable to the public -- to at least the same extent as shares held by insiders.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby Valuethinker » Mon May 06, 2013 2:51 am

zaboomafoozarg wrote:
assumer wrote:
zaboomafoozarg wrote:I had never realized before that BRK.B makes up .5% of VTSMX. For some reason I didn't think it counted... not sure why, LOL.


So that means that the companies the Berkshire owns are "double" counted in VTSMX for example? As in, shares of Coca Cola are owned by VTSMX outright, and even more shares are owned indirectly by Berkshire, which also is in VTSMX?


Ah yeah, that's why I didn't think it would in there - because I thought of it as a mutual fund. Looks like it's a holding company though, which isn't the same thing.


Technically it looks most like a 'Closed End Fund'.

But it's not an investment company within the meaning of the US 1940 Investment Companies Act, I don't believe.

Rather it's a holding company. Like GE for example-- also a highly diversified conglomerate.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby dhodson » Mon May 06, 2013 9:37 am

mmaguy wrote:Funny how so many bogleheads own Berkshire. Never seen it mentioned until this thread. I'd guess many people do not take the same advice they give.



i cant speak for everyone else but as i mentioned above for me i own a few shares as gambling or entertainment purposes. I could buy penny stocks but i prefer playing games with better odds like craps. Im not foolish enough to believe though that by playing craps instead of a lower odds game that the odds are now in my favor or that playing the game makes sense from a math/scientific point of view. I also wasnt born a boglehead so i have a past that im managing. I also imagine that bogleheads are a diverse group. For instance im Catholic (at least i call myself Catholic) but i firmly believe in birth control and there are other issues where the Pope and I dont seem to see eye to eye. Maybe im not Catholic or a boglehead by a strict definition? I imagine that applies to a lot of people.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby danwhite77 » Mon May 06, 2013 9:47 am

mmaguy wrote:Funny how so many bogleheads own Berkshire. Never seen it mentioned until this thread. I'd guess many people do not take the same advice they give.


Actually, I've read all of Warren's letters to shareholders and many of Jack Bogle's writings and I've always marveled at how they say much of the same thing but embrace two entirely different philosophies.
"While some mutual fund founders chose to make billions, he chose to make a difference." - Dedication to Jack Bogle in 'The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing'.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby Call_Me_Op » Mon May 06, 2013 9:50 am

Owning Berkshire is no different fundamentally from owning any other single stock. That's why I don't bother.
Best regards, -Op

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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby inbox788 » Mon May 06, 2013 11:53 am

Call_Me_Op wrote:Owning Berkshire is no different fundamentally from owning any other single stock. That's why I don't bother.

Beg to differ, but it's like saying owning VOO (vanguard s&p 500 etf) is no different fundamentally from owning any other single stock. Berkshire is a hybrid, both individual companies as well as a fund. Some large companies like GE or Microsoft can also be considered hybrids to some degree, particularly for their large investment and finance operations. What separates these other single stocks from Berkshire is that their adjunc operations are usually more closely tied to their core business, whereas with Berkshire isn't.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby Call_Me_Op » Mon May 06, 2013 5:57 pm

I'd much rather own the S&P 500 - although even that shouldn't comprise too much of your portfolio.
Best regards, -Op

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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby tr123 » Mon May 06, 2013 8:59 pm

I'm a Boglehead who believes in the simple portfolio approach (TSM, TISM, and TBM), yet I do own some individual stocks. I am a railroad buff. Less than one per cent of my portfolio is in what I call my railroad index. 10 shares each of CNI, CP, NSC, CSX, KSU, PRRR, GWR, PWX, UNP, and BRK.B. The BRK.B was acquired when Berkshire took over Burlington Northern Santa Fe. They offered stock, or cash, or a combo. I chose stock. I've kept BRK.B in my portfolio because they do own BNSF, and, to my pleasant surprise, found I can get a discount on my car insurance. So, I'm still an advocate of the lazy portfolio approach, but I have no problem holding some individual stocks for fun as it is such a small part of my portfolio.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby TomatoTomahto » Tue May 07, 2013 12:03 pm

Article in today's NYT (by Andrew Ross Sorkin) about the Berkshire stockholder's meeting: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/05/06/for-buffett-the-past-isnt-always-prologue/

One interesting part of this was about Berkshire Hathaway as an index fund and the size issue. Note that Mr. Kass is negative on Berkshire, is short Berkshire, and was invited to the stockholder's meeting by Berkshire specifically to ask tough questions of Buffett and Munger:
Mr. Buffett put it bluntly: “There’s no question that we cannot do as well as in the past, and size does matter.” In last year’s annual report, Mr. Buffett described his expectations for Berkshire by saying that the company’s “intrinsic value will over time likely surpass the S.& P. returns by a small margin,” and even suggested that “when the market is particularly strong, expect us to fall short.”

Mr. Kass was much less delicate. “Is Berkshire resembling an index fund more appropriate for widows and orphans?” he pondered.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby PGR » Tue May 07, 2013 2:21 pm

Calm Man wrote:
Calm Man wrote:I wouldn't invest a penny with that clown.


There's a difference between trolling and speaking the truth - if you don't like the truth, then keep it to yourself. Calling me a troll after 6000+ posts is a bit ridiculous, don't you think?


So let me get this straight. Labeling WB as "that clown" is not an opinion but rather 'the truth'? And having a post count of over 6k grants immunity from trolling. Interesting. But here's where I get confused - if it really is true as you say that WB is a clown, it's not trolling and you really don't need to invoke the 6k post count defense at all right? At any rate, perhaps the former should go on WB's wiki page and the later should be amended to our Policies and Etiquette statement. :happy
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby HardKnocker » Tue May 07, 2013 2:48 pm

Instead of buying BH I bought Beanie Babies. Time will tell... :|
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby Valuethinker » Tue May 07, 2013 5:15 pm

danwhite77 wrote:
mmaguy wrote:Funny how so many bogleheads own Berkshire. Never seen it mentioned until this thread. I'd guess many people do not take the same advice they give.


Actually, I've read all of Warren's letters to shareholders and many of Jack Bogle's writings and I've always marveled at how they say much of the same thing but embrace two entirely different philosophies.


Does the company publish them back to the 1960s? Or do you have another source?

The old ones would make really interesting reading.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby abuss368 » Tue May 07, 2013 9:44 pm

The Berkshire Hathaway website notes 1977 as the first year. There is a book available for sale on Amazon (with a link on Berkshire's website) that has all of the Shareholder letters unedited.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby IlikeJackB » Tue May 07, 2013 10:40 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Does the company publish them back to the 1960s? Or do you have another source?

The old ones would make really interesting reading.


This link has the letters to his partners in the pre-Berkshire Hathaway days: http://www.rbcpa.com/WEB_letters/WEB_Le ... EDOFF.html
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby abuss368 » Wed May 08, 2013 10:00 am

IlikeJackB wrote:
This link has the letters to his partners in the pre-Berkshire Hathaway days: http://www.rbcpa.com/WEB_letters/WEB_Le ... EDOFF.html



Awesome! Thank you so much!!!
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby james22 » Wed May 08, 2013 12:00 pm

As a provider of liquidity, BRK is unique.

10% of my portfolio.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby baw703916 » Wed May 08, 2013 8:44 pm

james22 wrote:As a provider of liquidity, BRK is unique.


Yes, making a payday loan to Goldman Sachs was priceless.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby inbox788 » Thu May 09, 2013 7:50 pm

mmaguy wrote:Funny how so many bogleheads own Berkshire. Never seen it mentioned until this thread. I'd guess many people do not take the same advice they give.


Does seem a little ironic. There is some argument that Berkshire is an active investment making stock picks, which is contrary to setting an asset allocation and letting it ride. On the other hand, using index funds in an asset allocation aren't entirely passive. There's an element of choosing when selecting most index funds. One way to think about the Dow or S&P500 is a slow turnover active management fund with selecting large companies representative parts of the economy. Using this thought, Berkshire Hathaway is pretty much the same thing. Instead of adding a stock overnight like the S&P 500, Berkshire adds to the stock over some time, and same thing when getting out. Same thing with getting into and exiting some businesses (consumer, insurance, finance). Stated criteria for including or excluding stocks into the group are slightly different, and that may be the crux of the difference. But if you go back to asset allocation accounting for the majority of the fund performance, and take a close look at what is in the allocations, there's a lot more similarity than difference.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby baw703916 » Thu May 09, 2013 10:39 pm

Of course if you decide to just stick to index funds and not own any individual stocks, not even BRK, WB won't take issue with that approach. Remember he bet in 2008 that Vanguard S&P 500 Index Admiral Shares would beat a fund of hedge funds over a 10 year period. He's now ahead, even though it lost 37% in the first year.

http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2013/01/ ... -fund-bet/
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby abuss368 » Fri May 31, 2013 11:36 pm

Thank you everyone for your kind responses to date. I have enjoyed this post.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby thebogledude » Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:08 am

I first came across BRK-A in late 80s when it was 3,000/share and I said who would pay $3000 for a share? Oops.
I seem to recall that Buffet acquired the huge stake in KO when they came out with New Coke to make it taste more like Pepsi
and Coke's price tanked.
I'm not sure how to interpret the big stake in IBM. They seem to load up on IBM in last year or two and goes against Buffet's style IMHO.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby Valuethinker » Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:53 am

thebogledude wrote:I first came across BRK-A in late 80s when it was 3,000/share and I said who would pay $3000 for a share? Oops.
I seem to recall that Buffet acquired the huge stake in KO when they came out with New Coke to make it taste more like Pepsi
and Coke's price tanked.
I'm not sure how to interpret the big stake in IBM. They seem to load up on IBM in last year or two and goes against Buffet's style IMHO.


Buffett's quoted stakes are almost no longer relevant-- certainly not the newly acquired ones. He can't buy enough stock to make a significant difference to his performance.

He's taking a read that IBM is too cheap relative to its franchise value. It is perhaps the only tech company that has survived more than 2 cycles. Go back to the 60s and 70s, all of the tech stocks are pretty much dead and buried-- Polaroid, Kodak, DEC etc. Look at Dell now v. Dell in 1999. Sun Microsystems? (actually Oracle is the other survivor stock I would guess).
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby lhl12 » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:55 am

Those who are interested in understanding Berkshire Hathaway in greater detail might consider looking at this presentation:

http://www.tilsonfunds.com/BRK.pdf

This was researched and written by a money manager named Whitney Tilson, who (actively) manages a fund whose largest position is Berkshire Hathaway. He has posted his analysis publicly for anyone who is interested.

I offer no opinion on the merits of his analysis, but it does seem comprehensive and reasonably well researched, and seems to be a good primer on Berkshire Hathaway.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby investor » Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:50 pm

have had BRK.b since 1996.... works well in taxable account

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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby Buffetologist » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:19 pm

I've owned B-shares since 1997. It's my largest individual stock holding. Never touched it. Don't have any plans to.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:24 pm

Don't own it, but am thinking about taking my cash-take out Uncle Warren/Abel has decided to give me and buy back into it.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby sherwink » Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:19 pm

I've owned B shares for a few years, with no intention of selling anytime soon.
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - Warren Buffett - Anyone own the sto

Postby investor » Sat Jun 01, 2013 4:17 pm

sorry duplicate post
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