Oaktree Capital chairman Howard Marks released his latest Memo, "How Quickly They Forget". He wrote: In January 2004 I received a letter from Warren Buffett (how’s that for name dropping?) in which he wrote, “I’ve commented about junk bonds that last year’s weeds have become this year’s flowers. I liked them better when they were weeds.” Warren’s phrasings are always the clearest, catchiest and most on-target, and I thought this Buffettism captured the thought particularly well.
Thus for Oaktree’s 2004 investor conference we used the phrase “Yesterday’s Weeds . . . Today’s Flowers” as the title of a slide depicting the snapback of high yield bonds. It showed the 45% average yield at which a sample of ten bonds could have been bought during the Enron-plus-telecom meltdown of 2002 and the 6% average yield at which they could have been sold in 2003; on average, the yields had fallen by 87% in just thirteen months. The idea went full-circle in 2005, when Warren used our slide at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting to illustrate how rapidly things can change in the world of investing.
Read the complete memo.