While in Omaha for the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting a couple of weeks ago, I participated in an investment panel hosted by a local chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization. I had the privilege of sharing the stage with such industry giants as Tom Russo
), a partner of Gardner Russo & Gardner (famous for knowing more about consumer stocks than the management that runs them), and Tom Gayner
), president and CIO of Markel Corp. (NYSE:MKL
), a specialty insurance company that on many levels resembles the Berkshire of 30 years ago.
We were asked how much time a value investor should spend on macro forecasting. Usually macro forecasting is frowned upon in the value investing community, and Berkshire (NYSE:BRK.A
) CEO Warren Buffett
) has everything to do with that. He is famous for saying (and I am paraphrasing), “My decision making would not change even if I knew what the Federal Reserve will do with interest rates next month.” There is sound logic behind this: Forecasting the economy is incredibly difficult in the short run. The economy is not unlike a black box with hundreds of gauges on it that in the near term give you conflicting readings about what’s inside it. Continue Reading »