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  • vgm commented on Rupert Hargreaves's article 01-16 12:45
    Buffett and Airline Stocks
    Airline stocks took off in the third quarter last year after it emerged that billionaire investor Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) had acquired...
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    vgm 01-16 12:45
    • Thanks, Rupert.

      A couple of points: if we agree that these are not Buffett buys, then maybe your title needs to be changed. It's arguably misleading the way it is - and your subtitle too for that matter. Second, although Combs seems to buy and sell with a relatively short timeframe (at least in some cases), Weschler is more a long term buy and hold investor who buys few but very large positions - see for example DVA and GM.
  • vgm commented on Rupert Hargreaves's article 01-16 10:20
    Buffett and Airline Stocks
    Airline stocks took off in the third quarter last year after it emerged that billionaire investor Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) had acquired...
    View all 6 comments
    vgm 01-16 10:20
    • Thanks for the interesting analysis.

      However, although they're Berkshire buys, I'd be pretty sure these airline purchases have nothing to do with Buffett. Rather these will be Combs and/or Weschler picks. His lieutenants operate completely independently of him - and invest much smaller amounts of money than their boss.

      At a recent Berkshire meeting, Bill Miller submitted a question based on the attractiveness of airline stocks, on account of consolidation in the sector. Buffett said that Miller may be right but that he (Buffett) was not interested. And, if I remember well, Munger said he too would not be interested in airlines.

      Bill Miller was invested in airlines well before the Berkshire buys and has profited greatly as those stocks rose due to the Berkshire effect.


  • vgm commented on The Science of Hitting's article 01-15 06:12
    How to Analyze a Company
    A fellow GuruFocus reader recently sent me an email with the following question: “Which books would you recommend if I want to start investing in...
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    vgm 01-15 06:12
    • Hi Science - thanks for a great article, as ever. You have an impressive process.

      A few years ago, Mohnish Pabrai (Trades, Portfolio) gave an interview with Motley Fool, where he elaborated on advice that Charlie Munger (Trades, Portfolio) had imparted to him, in order to become a superior investor. Pabrai said Munger had never before been public with this advice.

      Munger's advice is a guide to finding worthwhile companies, and is arguably complementary to your theme of 'valuation'. The question of uncovering worthy companies came up in the discussion above from The Lion and others.

      Munger suggested:

      1. Examine the holdings of outstanding investors - in other words, regularly study the 13F filings of bona fide superinvestors. (Parenthetically, this is very different from the huge number of so-called gurus who are covered on Gurufocus.)

      2. Look for the Cannibals - those being companies which are buying in a lot of their own shares.

      3. Study spin-offs, since they often present deep value for certain (illogical) reasons. This is of course something Joel Greenblatt (Trades, Portfolio) has written extensively about, and Seth Klarman (Trades, Portfolio) has lauded it too.


      I have found these suggestions to be quite fertile ground for uncovering interesting ideas, in my own humble and idiosyncratic approach. Intelligently implemented, they represent a shortcut to a shortlist of high caliber ideas. With respect to No 1 above, I'd add the observation that those superinvestors who run concentrated portfolios (Lou Simpson (Trades, Portfolio) would be a prime example) are particularly interesting, because their concentration reflects high conviction.

      Thanks again for the stimulation.

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