Once again, it’s becoming popular for the media to bash Warren Buffett’s lackluster performance.
"Buffett's bad year" pic.twitter.com/zbORDtDnNM
— Jesse Felder (@jessefelder) December 1, 2015
If you’ve not been hiding under a rock for the past few months, though, you’re well aware of the fact that there are just a handful of stocks responsible for the gains in the major indexes this year. Outside of these few, the vast majority of stocks have actually declined in 2015.
FT: Fangs and Nifty Nine power U.S. stock market https://t.co/Ra9lCo8hRh pic.twitter.com/6qJGG2yfYy
— Jesse Felder (@jessefelder) November 27, 2015
Certainly, Warren is not the sort of investor to buy the FANGs. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google trade at an average p/e of 360 making them entirely off-limits to any self-respecting value investor.
This is no revelation. What is interesting, however, is every time the media sees fit to bash Buffett in this way, he ends up getting the last laugh.
They bashed him during the financial crisis for being too bullish. The big, bullish bets he put on back in 2008 and 2009, though, have paid off incredibly well since then.
Warren Buffett's bad year has been getting as much attention as the last time Berkshire was taking a beating. pic.twitter.com/aP7jmO6SXY
— Jason Goepfert (@sentimentrader) December 1, 2015
And, in a more similar fashion to today’s bashing, the media tarred and feathered Warren back in 1999 for being, “out of touch,” in sitting out the dotcom boom. In a cover story, Barron’s wrote:
To be blunt, Buffett, who turns 70 in 2000, is viewed by an increasing number of investors as too conservative, even passe. Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and chief executive, may be the world’s greatest investor, but he hasn’t anticipated or capitalized on the boom in technology stocks in the past few years.
This ran in December, 1999, just a few months before the boom famously turned to bust. Once again, Warren hasn’t, “anticipated or capitalized on the boom in technology stocks,” and his performance has suffered as a result.
But, after successfully practicing his own brand of investing for over half a century, do you think he’s worried about his short-term underperformance? Or worried about them teasing him about it?
I’d actually be surprised if he didn’t see this sort of criticism in the media as a contrary indicator and marvel at its cyclical regularity.