“It’s a very simple decision to repurchase shares: Can you repurchase for less than intrinsic value?”
– Warren Buffett
Recap: The 2015 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting
A recap of the Q&A session from Berkshire’s 50th annual meeting, which took place over the weekend.
Royal Mail to benefit from Whistl’s blow as arch-rival ditches plan for aggressive UK expansion programme
Royal Mail was given a boost this week when Whistl announced it was postponing its expansion in the UK market after talks broke down with its private equity backers, Lloyd’s LDC. The UK postal market is suffering from over-capacity, and as I said here, Royal Mail is well-placed to weather the storm of excessive competition thanks to its property portfolio and capacity for internal efficiency improvements.
Discover CEO Defends AmEx’s Decision to ‘Walk Away’ From Costco
“Being able to control when to do a deal and when to walk away is one of the advantages” when serving as both the payments network and lender, said Nelms, whose firm also fills both roles but doesn’t engage in such partnerships with retailers. “I would say AmEx decided to walk away.”
6 Key Takeaways from the 2015 Berkshire Conference
The 50th Berkshire Conference took place over the weekend. Here are some quick takeaways, with full transcripts and analysis sure to come from attendees over the coming days.
“When evaluating a company, look for reasons not to buy the stock.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Stock Market is (still) Shrinking
“In theory companies are meant to raise money from the stock market to invest in their future growth. Exactly the reverse is taking place. Last year, the volume of buybacks was $550bn, according to Bloomberg, while the amount of new money coming into the market, mostly into mutual and exchange traded funds, was just $85bn. During 2015 the trend has increased sharply. Not only have buybacks jumped: they hit a record $104bn in February. But investors have actually been withdrawing money from the market.”
The Chinese Can’t Kick Their Savings Habit
“Some bank as much as half of their income, suppressing spending.”
Charlie Munger Comments and the Art of Stock Picking
Question: What is the least talked about or most misunderstood moat?
Munger: You basically want me to explain to you a difficult subject of identifying moats. It reminds me of a story. One man came to Mozart and asked him how to write a symphony. Mozart replied, “You are too young to write a symphony.” The man said, “You were writing symphonies when you were 10 years of age, and I am 21.” Mozart said, “Yes, but I didn’t run around asking people how to do it”.
Henry Singleton: A Master of Capital Allocation
One of history’s greatest capital allocators, respected by the likes of Buffett and Munger.
“Singleton has an almost uncanny ability to resist being caught up in the fads and fancies of the moment. Like most great investors, Henry Singleton is supremely indifferent to criticism.”
Oh-oh seven? – Why so-called ‘bond proxies’ could leave their investors both shaken and stirred
“The use of stocks as yield-driven commodities seems to us a misbegotten idea that is vulnerable to increases in either interest rates or earnings growth.”
Do Not Cross CrossFit
“Greg Glassman’s essential business outlook is this: he can do whatever the hell he wants to. What he wants to do right now is protect the brand of CrossFit, his extraordinary fitness company.”
Science’s Love Affair with The Lord of the Rings
“Fight me on that if you want, but there’s plenty of evidence that suggests scientists love J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic. Several newly discovered animal species have been named after characters from the books.”
Graph of the week