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Berkshire Hathaway Predictability Rank


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3.5 (5)

Warren Buffett said many times that the companies he likes are:

1. Simple businesses that he understands
2. that have predictable and proven earnings and
3. with economic moat
4. those can be bought at a reasonable price.

It is hard to quantify "simple businesses that he (Buffett) understands", so we will focus on the other three characteristics instead. In GuruFocus Research: What worked in the market from 1998-2008? Part I: Introduction of Predictability Rank, we will show that the businesses that have predictable and proven earnings are usually also simple businesses that an average person could understand.

GuruFocus conducted a back test study of Warren Buffett's strategy of "buying good companies at fair prices" for the years from 1998-2008.


Berkshire Hathaway Predictability Rank Calculation

In our database there are 2403 stocks that have been traded from Jan. 2, 1998 to Aug. 31, 2008. We have the complete 10-year financial data and trading prices of these companies for this period. We rank the predictability of these companies based on the consistency of their revenue per share and EBITDA (earning before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) per share over the past ten fiscal years, and study the correlation between the stock performances and the predictability of the business.

Our study may be subject to these biases and assumptions:

Dividend yields are not counted for investment returns
Effects of price changes due to spin-offs may not be fully adjusted
Study is subjected to survivorship bias due to de-listing, bankruptcy, LBO, M&A, etc.

The correlation between business predictability and investment returns of a company is showed below.

Correlation Between Business Predictability and Investment Returns

PredictablesNon-PredictableAll stocks
Total Number of stocks57018332403
Total Lost Money61830891
Total Lost More Than 50%18412430
Total Lost More Than 90%48690
Average Gain260.6%100.0%138.1%
Median Gain150.0%13.0%39.0%
Maximum Gain2852.0%11483.0%11483.0%
Maximum Loss-100.0%-100.0%-100.0%
Annualized Average Gain12.7%6.7%8.4%
Annualized Median Gain8.9%1.1%3.1%


















For the 570 predictable companies, we have seen strong correlation between the predictability of businesses and the stock performances over the past 10 years, regardless of the valuation of business at 1998. Accordingly, we have ranked the business predictability from 5-star to 1-star, as shown in this table.

Predictability Rank5-Star4.5-Star4-Star3.5-Star3-Star2.5-Star2-Star1-Star (non-predictable)Average among all
% Out of All 2403 Stocks 3.3% 2.9% 3.7% 3.3% 3.3% 3.7% 3.3% 76.3% 100%
% that are in Loss (10y) 3% 10% 8% 9% 11% 18% 16% 45% 37%
Average Gain (10y) 364.6% 330.9% 278.0% 235.1% 243.5% 227.8% 154.8% 100.0% 138.1%
Median Gain (10y) 238.5% 193.5% 171.0% 159.0% 132.5% 113.5% 87.0% 13.0% 39.0%
Maximum Gainer 2228.0% 2547.0% 2452.0% 2852.0% 2432.0% 1892.0% 1807.0% 11483.0% 11483.0%
Maximum Loser -82.0% -53.0% -67.0% -100.0% -83.0% -100.0% -78.0% -100.0% -100.0%
Annualized Average Gain 15.4% 14.6% 13.2% 12.0% 12.2% 11.7% 9.1% 6.7% 8.4%
Annualized Median Gain 12.1% 10.6% 9.8% 9.3% 8.2% 7.3% 6.0% 1.1% 3.1%
















For detailed information about each predictability rank, please go to GuruFocus Research: What worked in the market from 1998-2008? Part I: Introduction of Predictability Rank

Also read:

Part II: What worked in the market from 1998-2008? Part II: Role of Valuations
Part III: Intrinsic Value, Discounted Cash Flow and Margin of Safety

Berkshire Hathaway Predictability Rank Related Terms

Thank you for viewing the detailed overview of Berkshire Hathaway's Predictability Rank provided by GuruFocus.com. Please click on the following links to see related term pages.


Berkshire Hathaway Business Description

Berkshire Hathaway logo
Address
3555 Farnam Street, Omaha, NE, USA, 68131
Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company with a wide array of subsidiaries engaged in diverse activities. The firm's core business segment is insurance, run primarily through Geico, Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group, and Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group. Berkshire has used the excess cash thrown off from these and its other operations over the years to acquire Burlington Northern Santa Fe (railroad), Berkshire Hathaway Energy (utilities and energy distributors), and the firms that make up its manufacturing, service, and retailing operations (which include five of Berkshire's largest noninsurance pretax earnings generators: Precision Castparts, Lubrizol, Clayton Homes, Marmon, and IMC/ISCAR). The conglomerate is unique in that it is run on a completely decentralized basis.
Executives
Jain Ajit director, officer: Vice Chairman 100 FIRST STAMFORD PLACE BHRG STAMFORD CT 06902
Munger Charles T director, officer: Vice Chairman 355 S GRAND AV 34TH FL LOS ANGELES CA 90071
Buffett Warren E director, 10 percent owner, officer: Chairman and CEO 3555 FARNAM ST STE 1440 OMAHA NE 68131
Witmer Meryl B director 655 THIRD AVENUE 11TH FLOOR NEW YORK NY 10017
Chenault Kenneth I director AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY 200 VESEY STREET NEW YORK NY 10285
Gottesman David S director
Guyman Charlotte director 3324 78TH PL. N.E. MEDINA WA 98004
Olson Ronald L director EDISON INTERNATIONAL 2244 WALNUT GROVE AVENUE ROSEMEAD CA 91770
Abel Gregory director, officer: Vice Chairman C/O BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC. 3555 FARNAM STREET OMAHA NE 68131
Murphy Thomas S director C/O WALT DISNEY CO 500 S BUENA VISTA STREET BURBANK CA 91521-1010
Burke Stephen B director 41 CENTRAL PARK WEST - APT 11A NEW YORK NY 10023
Keough Donald R /ny director 200 GALLERIA PARKWAY, SE SUITE 970 ATLANTA 2Q 30339-5945
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust 10 percent owner 2365 CARILLON POINT KIRKLAND WA 98033
Decker Susan L director C/O YAHOO INC 701 FIRST AVE SUNNYVALE CA 94089
Chace Malcolm G director ONE PROVIDENCE WASHINGTON PLZ 4TH FL PROVIDENCE RI 02903

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