Monthly Archives: January 2021

Lessons From Warren Buffett: You Don’t Want to Get Into a Stupid Game Just Because It’s Available

If there is one thing Warren Buffett is clear about, it is that gambling type of behavior, whether it is in the stock market or just buying a lottery ticket, will lead an investor astray. And, as opportunities to speculate look ever more enticing, it’s most important to remember that just because you can gamble doesn’t mean that you should.

“People win lotteries every day, but there’s no reason to have that effect you at all. You shouldn’t be jealous about it,” Buffett said at the 2016 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “If they want to do mathematically unsound things, and one of them occasionally gets lucky, and they put the one person on television, and the million that contributed to the winnings, with the big slice taken out for the state, you know, don’t get on, it’s nothing to worry about. Just, all you have to do is figure out what makes sense. . . . When you buy a stock, you get yourself in the mental frame of mind that you’re buying a business, and if you don’t look at a quote on it for five years, that’s fine. You don’t get a quote on your farm every day or every week or every month. You don’t get it on your apartment house, if you own one. If you own a McDonald’s franchise, you don’t get a quote every day. You know, you want to look at your stocks as businesses, and think about their performance as businesses. Think about what you pay for them, as you would think about buying a business, and let the rest of the world go its own way. You don’t want to get into a stupid game just because it’s available.”

Buffett’s full explanation about lotteries and markets


See the complete Lessons From Warren Buffett series

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Lessons From Warren Buffett: You Don’t Have to Do Exceptional Things to Get Exceptional Results

Investors often think that to be a great investor they need a complicated approach. It is as if they think that the more arcane their investment strategy is the more rewarding it will be. Warren Buffett disagrees.

“You don’t have to do exceptional things to get exceptional results,” Warren Buffett noted at the 1994 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “And some people think that if you jump over a seven-foot bar that the ribbon they pin on you is going to be worth more money than if you step over a one-foot bar. And it just isn’t true in the investment world, at all.”

Buffett’s full explanation on keeping investing simple

See the complete Lessons From Warren Buffett series

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway to Take Over Major Stake in North Sea Gas Project

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway looks to be one of the beneficiaries of the withdrawal of Dana Petroleum from a major North Sea gas project called Platypus.

The Playtpus project has been estimated to have mid-case recoverable reserves of 105 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

Currently, CalEnergy Resources, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, has a 26% stake in the project, and Parkmead Group has a 15% stake. Both companies would assume Dana’s interest, with Parkmead Group taking over the role of operator from Dana.

Dana Petroleum is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Korea National Oil Corporation.

Berkshire Hathaway recently increased its natural gas distribution holdings in the U.S. with its acquisition of Dominion Energy’s natural gas transmission and storage business.

CalEnergy, and its predecessor companies, have been active in oil and gas since the 1970s, and engages in exploration through appraisal, development, production and pipeline operations.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BYD Gets Second 500 Vehicle Order From Senmiao

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Chinese online ride-hailing platform Senmiao Technology will purchase another 500 vehicles from BYD. The automobiles are expected to be delivered to Senmiao by March 2021.

With this second order, Senmiao has ordered 1,000 of the anticipated 5,000 vehicles it will buy from BYD by the end of 2021.

Xi Wen, Senmiao’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are pleased to have made our second order of 500 EVs from our partner BYD, given the positive reception of EVs from our initial order in November 2020. We anticipate continued strong demand for our finance and leasing offerings with the development of our online ride-hailing platform in Changsha as the ride-hailing market returns to normalcy following the impact of the pandemic in 2020. Our core markets Chengdu and Changsha are excellent examples of a paradigm shift throughout China in the ride-hailing market, as the onset of ride-generating aggregation platforms such as Gaode Map and Meituan are helping to balance the competitive dynamics across the industry. We feel that Senmiao is in an advantageous position with both growing brand recognition and strong working relationships with manufacturers, technology providers and large E-commerce platforms. We are currently focused on expanding our share in the Chengdu and Changsha markets where we generated over 1.3 million rides or orders in the last calendar quarter of 2020. Furthermore, we are confident that we will be able to successfully replicate our model in new markets this year.”

A Profitable EV Company

BYD has reported strong sales of its vehicles, including the Han luxury car, which debuted in July. The Han is outselling its rivals from both Nio and Xpeng Motors.

BYD’s Han EV’s long-range pure electric version has a single-charge range of 605 kilometers (376 miles) based on the NEDC test cycle.

In other recent news, BYD announced in December that it received a large order to deliver another 406 pure electric buses to the Colombian capital of Bogota. The order was just weeks after it completed the delivery of 470 pure electric buses to the city.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million has grown in value over twenty-fold.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BNSF’s New CEO Has Bias for Growth

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Katie Farmer, the new president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway’s BNSF Railway Company is making no bones about her attitude towards BNSF’s future. It is about growth.

“We have always had and will always have a bias for growth,” notes Farmer, in comments to the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers. “We are a reflection of what goes on in the industrial and consumer economies. And we all know what happens in those economies: Volumes fluctuate, opportunities present themselves, opportunities go away. And so what that means for us is that we always have to be nimble enough and see growth opportunities in advance and prepare ourselves to be able to say yes.”

BNSF has laid out a 2021 capital investment plan of $2.99 billion, which is down just 2 percent from 2020’s $3.08 billion in capital spending.

“Every year through our capital plan, we work to ensure we are able to continue to operate a safe and efficient rail network, provide our customers with the level of service they have come to expect from BNSF as well as position ourselves for future growth opportunities,” Katie Farmer said.

The largest component of this year’s capital plan will be to replace and maintain BNSF’s core network and related assets, much like last year’s $3.08 billion capital program. Maintaining the railroad results in less unscheduled service outages that can slow down the rail network and reduce capacity.

The maintenance component of this year’s plan is $2.41 billion. The projects included in this part of the plan mostly entail replacing and upgrading rail as well as track infrastructure like ballast and rail ties (which are the main components for the tracks on which BNSF trains operate) and maintaining its rolling stock. It will include nearly 11,000 miles of track surfacing and/or undercutting work and the replacement of 428 miles of rail and approximately 2.6 million rail ties.

Approximately $400 million of this year’s capital plan will be for expansion and efficiency projects, and about $180 million of this year’s capital plan is for freight cars and other equipment acquisitions.

On its Southern Transcon route between the West Coast and the Midwest, BNSF will continue a multi-year effort to add several segments of new double-track in eastern Kansas. Once fully completed, BNSF will have 50 miles of additional main track to support traffic growth.

In addition, in the Pacific Northwest, BNSF will continue a multi-year bridge project near Sandpoint, Idaho to increase train capacity.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Lessons From Warren Buffett: There’s Nothing More Agonizing Than This

There is investing and then there is just plain gambling. It is something that Warren Buffett sees as almost inevitable for a certain type of investor. What type of investors are they? They are investors that always have their eyes on somebody else’s portfolio.

“There’s nothing more agonizing than to see your neighbor, who you think has an IQ about 30 points below you, getting richer than you are by buying stocks. And whether it’s internet stocks or whatever… and people succumb to it,” Buffett explained at the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “If the market gets hot, new issues are doing well and people on leverage are doing well, a lot of people will be attracted to not only speculation, but what I would call gambling.”

Buffett’s full explanation about speculation and markets

See the complete Lessons From Warren Buffett series

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Lessons From Warren Buffett: It Is a Waste of Time Having an Opinion About the Stock Market’s Direction

Turn on the financial news and you will see a steady stream of predictions as to the stock market’s overall direction. What is more routine at the beginning of the year than pundits predicting where the market will be at the end of the year? Will it hit a new high? Will it plummet? It clearly fascinates a lot of people, but not Warren Buffett, who sees those types of predictions as a waste of time.

“You may have trouble believing this, but Charlie and I never have an opinion about the market because it wouldn’t be any good and it might interfere with the opinions we have that are good,” Warren Buffett said at the 1994 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “If we’re right about a business, if we think a business is attractive, it would be very foolish for us to not take action on that because we thought something about what the market was going to do, or anything of that sort. Because we just don’t know. And to give up something that you do know and that is profitable for something that you don’t know and won’t know because of that, it just doesn’t make any sense to us, and it doesn’t really make any difference to us.”

Buffett’s full explanation on investing and the direction of the stock market

See the complete Lessons From Warren Buffett series

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

NetJets Reaches Agreement With Pilots’ Union

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After more than a decade of often contentious relations, NetJets and its pilots union have reached a new agreement without any of the past drama.

At their nadir in 2015, the rift was so wide that angry pilots conducted picketing at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha.

This time, NetJets has reached its agreement with its pilot union, the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) through a less heated negotiating process.

The new agreement gives all crewmembers the opportunity to earn additional compensation while enhancing quality of life on tour.

NetJets elected to initiate mid-term bargaining to improve compensation for long-term and new hire pilots, leading to the development of a new program that expressly recognizes the exceptional efforts its pilots put forth on a daily basis.

NetJets Chairman and CEO Adam Johnson and NJASAP President Pedro Leroux signed the 2018 Tentative Agreement following several months of collaboration between the parties that paved the way for an ambitious six-week negotiation.

The 2,500-member pilot group ratified the measure in late December with 81-plus percent voting in favor of the package of amendments that extends the 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement an additional three years through 2026.

Among other enhancements, the newly ratified Flight & Duty Pay Program (FDPP) introduces new compensation elements, ensuring NetJets continues to be the industry leader in pilot compensation and work rules; the FDPP benefits both the pilot group and propels the business and brand forward.

“Ratification of the 2018 Tentative Agreement represents countless hours of hard work from both the NetJets team and NJASAP as we worked toward a common goal that is mutually beneficial and built on a foundation of trust and transparency,” Johnson said. “In the spirit of true collaboration, the agreement has our pilots’ best interests in mind and maintains NetJets’s position as the industry leader in pilot relations. We believe this agreement and our relationship with our crewmembers are truly unique in our industry.”

Added Leroux, “The NJASAP Executive Board is exceedingly pleased with the outcome of this negotiation – an ambitious undertaking characterized by honesty, goodwill and a genuine commitment to continuing collaboration. It is my privilege to recognize the outstanding efforts of leaders and representatives from both NetJets and NJASAP and to express my sincere appreciation to the pilot group for its thoughtful review and ratification of this ground-breaking agreement.”

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of

BYD Establishes New Battery Research Institute

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD has established a new battery research institute in the Chinese city of Chongqing.

Dubbed the Chongqing Fudi Battery Research Institute Co., Ltd., the company is owned by Fudi Industrial Co., Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BYD.

The institute has registered capital of 100 million yuan ($15.467 million).

BYD’s Fudi Industrial Co., Ltd, currently has five companies under its umbrella, including Fudi Vision, Fudi Battery, and the company supplies parts not only to BYD, but also to its competitors, including Great Wall, Changan, Dongfeng and Chery.

A Profitable EV Company

In the last six months, BYD has reported strong sales of its vehicles, including the Han luxury car, which debuted in July. The Han is outselling its rivals from both Nio and Xpeng Motors.

BYD’s Han EV’s long-range pure electric version has a single-charge range of 605 kilometers (376 miles) based on the NEDC test cycle.

In other news, BYD announced in December that it received a large order to deliver another 406 pure electric buses to the Colombian capital of Bogota. The order was just weeks after it completed the delivery of 470 pure electric buses to the city.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million has grown in value over thirty-fold.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Lessons From Warren Buffett: Don’t Try and Sell to Buy Back Later at a Lower Price

You picked a winner and it’s shot up through the roof. Time to sell and buy back later at a lower price?

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger advise against it.

“Generally speaking, trying to dance in and out of the companies you really love, on a long term basis, has not been a good idea for most investors,” Charlie Munger explained at the 1999 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.

Warren Buffett concurred: “It’s pretty tough to do,” Buffett added. “You have to make two decisions right . . . you have to sell it right first, and then you have to buy it right later on . . . . If you get in to a wonderful business, best thing to do is stick with it.”

Buffett and Munger’s full explanation on trying to sell and buy back

See the complete Lessons From Warren Buffett series

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.