Lessons From Warren Buffett: We Think About Value, Not Price

Warren Buffett points out that focusing on a stock’s price, rather than its value, is not the path to success.

“I think it’s almost impossible if you’re to do well in equities over a period of time if you go to bed every night thinking about the price of them. I mean, Charlie and I, we think about the value of them,” Warren Buffett pointed out at the 2003 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “If they closed the Stock Exchange tomorrow. . . It wouldn’t bother me and Charlie [Munger], at all. We would keep selling bricks, selling Dilly Bars, selling candy, writing insurance. You know, a lot of people have private companies and they never get a quote on them. You know, we bought See’s Candy in 1972. We haven’t had a quote on it since. Does that make us wonder about how we’re doing with See’s Candy? No, we looked at the company results. . . . There’s nothing wrong with focusing on company results. Focusing on the price of a stock is dynamite, because it really means that you think that the stock market knows more than you do…So you need to formulate your ideas on price and value, and if the price gets cheaper and you have funds, you know, logically, you should buy more . . . and we do that all the time. Where we make our mistakes, frankly, is where we focus on price and value and we start buying, and the price goes up a little and we quit, you know, like Charlie referred to, we might have done on See’s Candy. A mistake like that cost us $8 billion in the case of Walmart stock a few years ago, because it went up in price. And you know, we are not happy when things we’re buying go up in price. We want them to go down, and down, and down. And we’ll keep buying more, and hopefully we won’t run out of money.”

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© 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.

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