BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC DEL : Buffett - worst - performance
05 janv. 2010•00:23
Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett recorded his worst performance against the stock market in a decade last year after committing $26 billion to a railroad takeover and lowering his expectations for investment returns.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the company Buffett has led as chairman for more than four decades, advanced 2.7 percent on the New York Stock Exchange in 2009, less than the 23 percent return in the Standard & Poors 500 Index. It was Berkshires worst showing since falling 20 percent in 1999, compared with a 20 percent gain in the index. Berkshire beat the index in 15 of the last 22 years.
Buffett, whose acquisitions and stock picks propelled Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshires 30-fold increase in 20 years, is finding it harder to duplicate those returns as his company expands. The purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., announced in November, wasnt cheap, Buffett said. The deal adds another business, along with luxury flights and manufactured housing, that suffers when the economy falters.
This isnt your fathers Berkshire, said Jeff Matthews, the author of Pilgrimage to Warren Buffetts Omaha and founder of the hedge fund Ram Partners LP. Its a protector of wealth and hopefully steady growth, but very dependent on the economy in ways that it hasnt been in the past.
Buffett, 79, won global renown as the Oracle of Omaha for stock picks, including Capital Cities/ABC Inc. in the 1980s and PetroChina Inc. in 2003, that produced multibillion-dollar gains. Berkshire doesnt pay dividends or buy back stock, and Buffetts main occupation as the companys chief executive officer is deciding where to invest earnings from a portfolio of operating companies and securities.
Berkshire fell 32 percent in 2008, better than the 38 percent slide in the S&P 500.
The Burlington Northern deal, which Buffett calls an all- in wager on the U.S. economy, brings Berkshire 37,000 workers and a share of a regulated industry. Berkshire expects to own the railroad for the next century and get a decent return, Buffett said in a November interview with Charlie Rose on PBS.
Reasonable return is good enough, Buffett said in the interview. You know, 50 years ago I was looking for spectacular returns, but I cant get em.
Berkshires performance against the S&P 500 has slipped even according to Buffetts favorite metric, book value per share. The measure of assets minus liabilities, which Buffett says most closely indicates a firms value, trailed the index three times in the 10 years through 2008 after lagging just three times in the previous 34. In the first nine months of 2009, Berkshires book value-per share gain trailed the S&P 500 again, 15 percent to 17 percent.
Outlook for Profit
Berkshires annual profits may return to growth this year, according to an estimate by Meyer Shields, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. Profit, which fell by more than half in 2008, may rise 51 percent to $7.55 billion, according to Shields. Berkshire reported record profit of $13.2 billion in 2007.
Buffett, the second-richest American, positioned Berkshire to weather the contraction in the U.S. economy by stockpiling $44 billion in cash. Starting in 2008, when corporate borrowing costs surged, he drew on that hoard to finance Goldman Sachs Group Inc., General Electric Co., Swiss Reinsurance Co. and the Mars Inc. takeover of chewing-gum maker Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.
Those transactions are paying coupons that helped boost investment income in the first nine months of the year. Still, losses at Berkshires NetJets subsidiary and earnings declines at Clayton Homes contributed to a pretax profit plunge of more than half to about $1.57 billion at Berkshires manufacturing, service and retailing businesses in the first nine months of 2009.
Many of Berkshires businesses were perhaps hit worse than companies in the S&P 500, said Guy Spier, a principal at hedge fund Aquamarine Funds LLC, which owns Berkshire shares. They have a huge exposure to the housing market; NetJets has been impacted.
To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: January 4, 2010 08:12 EST
L'ensemble des analyses et/ou recommandations présentes sur le forum BOURSORAMA sont uniquement élaborées
par les membres qui en sont émetteurs.
Agissant exclusivement en qualité de canal de diffusion, BOURSORAMA n'a participé en aucune manière
à leur élaboration ni exercé aucun pouvoir discrétionnaire quant à leur sélection. Les informations
contenues dans ces analyses et/ou recommandations ont été retranscrites "en l'état", sans déclaration
ni garantie d'aucune sorte. Les opinions ou estimations qui y sont exprimées sont celles de leurs auteurs
et ne sauraient refléter le point de vue de BOURSORAMA. Sous réserves des lois applicables, ni l'information
contenue, ni les analyses qui y sont exprimées ne sauraient engager la responsabilité BOURSORAMA.