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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 214643  
Subject: Re: Real-World Look-Through: Date: 3/25/2013 2:33 PM
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Since you are getting into this much detail regarding look- through, remember that if you are using look-through earnings for the full portfolio in your estimation of Berkshire's earnings for anlysis purposes, you also have to make an adjustment whenever one of the portfolio securities is sold.

That is a good point and the portfolio can also change in between reporting periods in ways that an analyst cannot accurately measure. At least the largest of the holdings are fairly static in terms of size and holding period but especially with Combs and Weschler being more active, changes within a year can have an impact on the estimate.

If we really wanted to measure undistributed investee earnings more accurately, we would need to look at quarterly reports rather than just annual reports to come up with quarterly look-through numbers. Looking at the February 13-F showing positions at 12/31/12 and then adding foreign holdings reported in the 10-K implicitly assumes that the positions were held throughout the prior year when they may not have been.

For those who look at the 13F report out of interest in what Buffett, Weschler, and Combs are doing or to get a general sense of the valuation of the investment portfolio, I don't think these complications are all that important. Primarily I like to look at new positions or closed positions and also to get a sense of the valuation of the portfolio to determine whether the "investments" column of the two column valuation requires upward or downward adjustment.
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