Buffett simply said that the Berkshire Hathaway, BRKB, strategy is all about making rational decisions and investing for the long haul.
“It’s not because we’re smart. It’s because we’re sane,” Buffett said during the meeting of Berkshire, BRKB, investors.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has beaten the broader market so far this year. But the Oracle of Omaha wasn’t willing to declare himself an investing genius during Saturday’s annual shareholder meeting.
Buffett brushed off compliments from one questioner about how he times the stock market so well. Buffett said that he never really knows what stocks or the economy will do in the short-term.
He also joked that his bullish bets on the market often look bad at first, saying that he spent a big portion of his net worth in 2008 during the Great Recession buying stocks at “a terrible time … a really dumb time.” Berkshire made investments in Goldman Sachs, GS, and General Electric, GE, among other blue chips, before the market finally bottomed in March 2009.
“We have never timed anything,” Buffett said, adding that the success of the company’s long-term “buy-and-hold” investment strategy is “simple.”
Both Buffett and Berkshire vice chairman Charlie Munger lamented how speculators have seemingly taken over Wall Street. Munger described the casino-like atmosphere and Buffett called the market a “gambling parlor.”
Buffet gave big plaudits to Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell for his actions to battle the economic crisis caused by Covid-19, even though some argue that the Fed’s low rates have helped fuel inflation pressures.
Buffett said Powell was a “hero” for being aggressive and quickly slashing rates at the start of the pandemic instead of sitting by and “thumb sucking.”
Buffett also hinted that Berkshire could take advantage of sell-offs, saying that the firm “depends” upon market behavior creating mispriced opportunities for the company.
Along those lines, Berkshire has made some aggressive moves of late. The company announced an an $11.6 billion purchase of insurance company Alleghany in March and also has recently disclosed big stakes in oil firm Occidental Petroleum, OXY, and tech giant HP, HPQ.