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巴菲特08年致股东信要点(转载)   

2008-03-05 09:16:59|  分类: 杂谈 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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          巴菲特08年致股东信要点

 

    作为伯克希尔"哈撒韦公司(Berkshire Hathaway)的主席,股神巴菲特在每年公布公司业绩的时候,总要给股东写一封信。巴菲特在信中会谈到公司的业绩、展望前景并且阐述自己的投资艺术,因此,每年的"致股东信"都会引起全球商界、投资界和媒体关注的焦点。

    我们把股神今年致股东信的亮点做一个简单的归纳,希望能对中国的投资者和企业家有所助益:

    关于中国石油

    2002和03年,伯克希尔以4.88亿美元购入中国石油(PetroChina?.3%的股份。按这个价格计算,中石油的市值约为370亿美元。而在去年下半年,中石油的市值涨到了2,750亿美元,我们认为这个估值水平和其他大型石油公司相当,所以我们将手中的股票以40亿美元全部卖出。

    另:由于出售中石油带来了投资收益,我们支付了12亿美元的税。这个金额相当于整个美国政府运作4个小时的所有支出,包括国防、社会保障…….等等。

    关于美国房地产市场

    你可能记得2003年的时候,硅谷很流行一个车贴:"神啊,救救我吧,再给一个泡沫吧"。很不幸,这个愿望很快就成真了:几乎每个美国人都认为房价会永远上涨。这种看法令贷款机构无视买房人的实际经济状况随意放贷,认为房价的上涨会解决一切问题。而今天,美国正为此付出惨痛的代价。

    随着房价的下跌,大量愚不可及的错误被曝光了。只有在退潮的时候,你才能看出哪些人不穿裤子就下水了。对于美国最大的一些金融机构,我只能用"惨不忍睹"来形容了。

    关于投资者对股市的期望

    先做个简单的数学题,假设你指望你本世纪的股市年收益率达到10%,而你的收益中,2%来自分红,8%来自股价上涨,那么你就是在假设道琼斯指数在2100年达到

24,000,000点(目前是13,000点)。如果你的财务顾问向你保证每年两位数的股市收益率,你可以和他讲讲这个题目。很多所谓的专家、大师都是牛皮大王。当你被他们的夸夸其谈骗得头脑发热,就是他们填满自己腰包的时候。

    关于主权财富基金

    主权财富基金最近成了一个热门话题,他们在大量地购入美国公司的股份,引发了激烈的争论。这种局面是美国人自己造成的,而不是外国政府在策划什么阴谋。巨额的贸易逆差才是外国政府大量投资美国的原因。当美国每天向世界上的其他国家输出20亿美元的时候,他们必须要把这些钱投到一个地方。他们选择了美国股票,而不是国债,我们有什么好抱怨的?

    美元的走弱不是欧佩克和中国的错。其他的发达国家和美国一样,也依赖石油进口,也在和中国的产品进行竞争。美国应该完善其贸易政策,而不是针对某个国

家,或者保护某个行业。美国也不应该采取可能引发报复的行动,那样只会减少美国的出口,损害到真正的自由贸易。

    一个小笑话

    在本届美国总统竞选活动中,我听到的最有趣的故事讲的是罗姆尼(Mitt     Romney),他问自己的妻子安妮:"在我们年轻的时候,在你最狂野的梦里,是不是也没想到我会竞选美国总统?"安妮回答说,"亲爱的,我的最狂野的梦里没有你。"

在我们1967年第一次涉足财险和意外险业务的时候,我的最狂野的梦里也没有我们现在的成就。

    关于生活和工作

    我和我的好搭档查理今年一个84岁,一个77岁。我们生于美国,获得了良好的教育,家庭和睦幸福,身体健康。许多人对社会的贡献和我们一样多,甚至更多。但是由于我们具备一些所谓"商业基因",因此获得了与自己的贡献不成比例的巨大财富。另外,我们一直都热爱自己的工作,也得到了许多有才华、有激情的人帮助。我们每天都是激情四溢,踩着舞步上班去的。

    股神在信中还谈到了他在外汇市场上的操作、他的继承人问题、衍生金融工具、他犯下的错误以及公司的保险业务。

 

 

WSJ Buffet: A Huge Amount of Financial Folly

2008/03/02 21:17:20

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., released his annual letter to investors Friday afternoon. Below are excerpts. (Read the full letter.)

On the search for a successor:

As I have told you before, we have for some time been well-prepared for CEO succession because we have three outstanding internal candidates. The board knows exactly whom it would pick if I were to become unavailable, either because of death or diminishing abilities. And that would still leave the board with two backups.

Last year I told you that we would also promptly complete a succession plan for the investment job at Berkshire, and we have indeed now identified four candidates who could succeed me in managing investments. All manage substantial sums currently, and all have indicated a strong interest in coming to Berkshire if called. The board knows the strengths of the four and would expect to hire one or more if the need arises. The candidates are young to middle-aged, well-to-do to rich, and all wish to work for Berkshire for reasons that go beyond compensation.

(I've reluctantly discarded the notion of my continuing to manage the portfolio after my death -- abandoning my hope to give new meaning to the term 'thinking outside the box.')

On the bubble in the housing market:

You may recall a 2003 Silicon Valley bumper sticker that implored, 'Please, God, Just One More Bubble.' Unfortunately, this wish was promptly granted, as just about all Americans came to believe that house prices would forever rise. That conviction made a borrower's income and cash equity seem unimportant to lenders, who shoveled out money, confident that HPA -- house price appreciation -- would cure all problems. Today, our country is experiencing widespread pain because of that erroneous belief.

As house prices fall, a huge amount of financial folly is being exposed. You only learn who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out -- and what we are witnessing at some of our largest financial institutions is an ugly sight.

On investors' expectations of the stock market:

I should mention that people who expect to earn 10% annually from equities during this century -- envisioning that 2% of that will come from dividends and 8% from price appreciation -- are implicitly forecasting a level of about 24,000,000 on the Dow by 2100. If your adviser talks to you about doubledigit returns from equities, explain this math to him -- not that it will faze him. Many helpers are apparently direct descendants of the queen in Alice in Wonderland, who said: 'Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.' Beware the glib helper who fills your head with fantasies while he fills his pockets with fees.

On Berkshire's increased position in derivatives:

Last year I told you that Berkshire had 62 derivative contracts that I manage. (We also have a few left in the General Re runoff book.) Today, we have 94 of these, and they fall into two categories.

Accounting rules for our derivative contracts differ from those applying to our investment portfolio. In that portfolio, changes in value are applied to the net worth shown on Berkshire's balance sheet, but do not affect earnings unless we sell (or write down) a holding. Changes in the value of a derivative contract, however, must be applied each quarter to earnings.

Thus, our derivative positions will sometimes cause large swings in reported earnings, even though Charlie [Munger, vice chairman of the board of directors] and I might believe the intrinsic value of these positions has changed little. He and I will not be bothered by these swings -- even though they could easily amount to $1 billion or more in a quarter -- and we hope you won't be either. You will recall that in our catastrophe insurance business, we are always ready to trade increased volatility in reported earnings in the short run for greater gains in net worth in the long run. That is our philosophy in derivatives as well.

On his missteps in deal-making:

Finally, I made an even worse mistake when I said 'yes' to Dexter, a shoe business I bought in 1993 for $433 million in Berkshire stock (25,203 shares of A). What I had assessed as durable competitive advantage vanished within a few years. But that's just the beginning: By using Berkshire stock, I compounded this error hugely. That move made the cost to Berkshire shareholders not $400 million, but rather $3.5 billion. In essence, I gave away 1.6% of a wonderful business one now valued at $220 billion to buy a worthless business.

To date, Dexter is the worst deal that I've made. But I'll make more mistakes in the future you can bet on that. A line from Bobby Bare's country song explains what too often happens with acquisitions: 'I've never gone to bed with an ugly woman, but I've sure woke up with a few.'

On the PetroChina deal and taxes:

In 2002 and 2003 Berkshire bought 1.3% of PetroChina for $488 million, a price that valued the entire business at about $37 billion. In the second half of last year, the market value of the company rose to $275 billion, about what we thought it was worth compared to other giant oil companies. So we sold our holdings for $4 billion.

A footnote: We paid the IRS tax of $1.2 billion on our PetroChina gain. This sum paid all costs of the U.S. government -- defense, social security, you name it -- for about four hours.

Joking about unanticipated growth in the property/casualty insurance business:

The best anecdote I've heard during the current presidential campaign came from Mitt Romney, who asked his wife, Ann, 'When we were young, did you ever in your wildest dreams think I might be president?' To which she replied, 'Honey, you weren't in my wildest dreams.'

When we first entered the property/casualty insurance business in 1967, my wildest dreams did not envision our current operation.

On sovereign wealth funds:

There's been much talk recently of sovereign wealth funds and how they are buying large pieces of American businesses. This is our doing, not some nefarious plot by foreign governments. Our trade equation guarantees massive foreign investment in the U.S. When we force-feed $2 billion daily to the rest of the world, they must invest in something here. Why should we complain when they choose stocks over bonds?

Our country's weakening currency is not the fault of OPEC, China, etc. Other developed countries rely on imported oil and compete against Chinese imports just as we do. In developing a sensible trade policy, the U.S. should not single out countries to punish or industries to protect. Nor should we take actions likely to evoke retaliatory behavior that will reduce America's exports, true trade that benefits both our country and the rest of the world.

On his currency investments:

At Berkshire we held only one direct currency position during 2007. That was in -- hold your breath -- the Brazilian real. Not long ago, swapping dollars for reals would have been unthinkable. After all, during the past century five versions of Brazilian currency have, in effect, turned into confetti. As has been true in many countries whose currencies have periodically withered and died, wealthy Brazilians sometimes stashed large sums in the U.S. to preserve their wealth.

But any Brazilian who followed this apparently prudent course would have lost half his net worth over the past five years. Here's the year-by-year record (indexed) of the real versus the dollar from the end of 2002 to year-end 2007: 100; 122; 133; 152; 166; 199. Every year the real went up and the dollar fell.

Moreover, during much of this period the Brazilian government was actually holding down the value of the real and supporting our currency by buying dollars in the market.

On the insurance business:

Finally, our insurance business -- the cornerstone of Berkshire -- had an excellent year. Part of the reason is that we have the best collection of insurance managers in the business -- more about them later. But we also were very lucky in 2007, the second year in a row free of major insured catastrophes.

That party is over. It's a certainty that insurance-industry profit margins, including ours, will fall significantly in 2008. Prices are down, and exposures inexorably rise. Even if the U.S. has its third consecutive catastrophe-light year, industry profit margins will probably shrink by four percentage points or so. If the winds roar or the earth trembles, results could be far worse. So be prepared for lower insurance earnings during the next few years.

On the business of life:

At 84 and 77, Charlie and I remain lucky beyond our dreams. We were born in America; had terrific parents who saw that we got good educations; have enjoyed wonderful families and great health; and came equipped with a 'business' gene that allows us to prosper in a manner hugely disproportionate to that experienced by many people who contribute as much or more to our society's well-being. Moreover, we have long had jobs that we love, in which we are helped in countless ways by talented and cheerful associates. Every day is exciting to us; no wonder we tap-dance to work.

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