Sometimes it pays to pay attention.
On Feb. 20, 2009, after the ultra-crappy investment year of 2008, the A shares of Berkshire closed at $77,000, according to Yahoo Finance. Yahoo’s financial site shows historical stock histories or exports them to Excel spreadsheets. Yahoo, like MSN Money and CBS MarketWatch, offers a lot of functionality for the investor and the investment professional. Like many stocks, Berkshire bounced around a great deal in 2008, and Feb. 20th of the following year was a low day; the investing public must have been very fearful on that day.
Warren Buffett is fond of saying “buy when others are fearful,” and Feb. 20, 2009, would have been a good (fearful) day to buy Berkshire, in either its A-share or B-share guises. How would you have done? The stock closed Friday, April 5, at $156,330, and here are the numbers:
Dollar gain: $79,330.
Percentage gain: 103.03 percent
Yearly gain: 25 percent
What other company is as transparent and free of corporate B.S. (a.k.a., suspicious and difficult-to-translate footnotes) as Berkshire? What other company ties executive compensation to actual performance year in and year out?
Berkshire did not have a great 10 years as of the end of 2012. Still, it was better than the S&P. Yes, it got hammered in 2008 and part of 2009, but so what? A great company is a great company! Why would you bet against the world’s greatest investor?