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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 254175  
Subject: Re: Timing and BRK.A Date: 12/31/2012 5:09 PM
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What is interesting is that from 1/1/2000 to present there is a huge drop
in the performance compared to the overall history no matter which way you slice it.


This is certainly true! With hindsight my allocation would have been much lower.
But like a lot of firms (Microsoft and Walmart, as examples) this is in large part
due compression of valuation multiples. The business has done pretty well.
e.g., from the end of 1998 to today, the share price has returned only 4.77%/year.
But book value per share (a poor proxy for true value but better than price)
has risen 8.05%/yr, and the difference is gradually shrinking multiples.
SPY has returned 2.83%/year in the same interval.
Better metrics of fair value give higher figures for value growth, since
the fair P/B value has been rising on trend as more of their value
comes from operating subsidiaries and less from investments marked to market.
A closed end fund is worth book, but an operating business is often worth twice book.

Rather remarkably, since the mid 1990s book/share has grown on trend at
a remarkably steady rate of 6-8%/year faster than the S&P has risen.
A few figures here http://boards.fool.com/recent-record-29270796.aspx?sort=whol...
That post is a bit out of date, but the trend hasn't eroded yet.
One might speculate from this that they'll pick up the pace a bit
if and when we work off the broad market overvaluation and get back
to expectations of a stock market rising on trend.
If you own tens of billions of dollars worth of stock when the stock
market is going nowhere it's probably hard to make a killing.

Jim
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