许多投资者都跟格隆汇平台反映希望能多看到价值投资的内容，为此我们特意组织力量按照问题由浅至深的顺序，汇总并翻译了巴菲特近几年在各大公开场合回答的关于投资的问题。本篇文章主要内容是讲述巴菲特对市场及市场将何去何从的看法（Views on the market and where it's going?），希望对您有所帮助。
Regardless of the market, I will keep buying businesses. We like low prices.
We’re not good at forecasting markets. Charlie and I spend no time thinking about where the market’s going. We do know when we’re getting good value [when we’re buying a stock or business].
There are always going to be some good and bad things happening.
I’ve seen more people lose more money by getting focused too much on one factor. We’ve never not bought something due to macroeconomic concerns.
Very infrequently you can say something intelligent about the market as a whole – when circumstances are so extreme that you predict the next 5-10 years with some degree of certainty. This was the case in 1969 and 1974. But most of the time, we’re in some in-between zone.
Obviously you can get more for your money now than in 1999 when I wrote that Fortune article (“Mr. Buffett on the Stock Market”). I knew I’d be right.
If I had to make a choice today between long-term bonds yielding 4.5% vs. equities over the next 20 years, I’d prefer equities. But people who expect 6-7% after-tax or double digits [pre-tax] and think they can do it or hire someone else to do it will likely be disappointed.
I don’t think we’re in bubble times or bargain times.
I think you’ll get a chance to do something screamingly intelligent within a few years, maybe much sooner, relative to current choices.
Source: BRK Annual Meeting 2005 Tilson Notes
Mr. Market is valuing Dow Jones at about 7000, and the S&P at about than 800. What is a fair valuation? (1997)
If you believe that American businesses in aggregate can earn the kind of returns they have been earning in the past couple of years, and you postulate no change in interest rates, you can justify 7000 on the Dow and 800 on the S&P. Now, if interest rates go higher, the valuation goes down automatically. And, more importantly, if the returns on equity of American industry, which are at historic highs, and which classical economics tells you would be hard to maintain--if those returns go down, that also would pull it down.
I'll give you a little quiz: What two years has the Dow had the greatest overall gain? The two years in the 1900s are 1933, which most of you don't think of as a banner year, and 1954, and in both of those years the Dow was up over 50%, counting dividends.
In March of 1955, because of the fact that the Dow had gone up, they decided to have Congressional hearings about it (laughter), and my boss Ben Graham was called down to testify, and Ben's opening comments about the market at that time were, "The market looks high, it is high, but it's not as high as it looks." Which brings about the current situation--the market certainly looks high, but there have been huge changes in earnings and return on equity and you've had this big move in interest rates. Now those are underlying fundamentals that have powered a huge bull market. After a while, people get captivated simply by the notion of rising prices without going back to the underlying rationale and that's when you get very dangerous conditions in terms of possible developments. I have no idea where the markets will go, but you have the kind of conditions that could cause real excesses, just like you had excesses in 1973-74 in the other direction, when you could buy businesses for 20 cents on the dollar. People behave in extreme ways in markets and over time that's very good for people who keep their heads.
Source: BRK Annual Meeting 1997
The S&P 500 has a return on equity of 22%, compared with a 12-13% average for corporate America over the past decade. How did we get to this point of extraordinary profitability? and is it sustainable?
22% returns are sustainable in a world where the long-term interest rates are 7% and where the capability of saving large amounts in the economy are quite dramatic. You could just think that there would be some sort of leveling effect between 7 and 22, that as savings got directed within the economy, and as the competitive forces operate that we've been taught will operate over time, will come into play, but I've been wrong on that subject.
Let's say you have a 22% perpetual bond, and let's say a third of that coupon would be paid out. So, a bond with a 22% coupon, and say 7% is paid out, being the dividend payout on the S&P we'll say, and the other 15% is reinvested in more 22% bonds with similar characteristics. Now what's that instrument worth on a present value basis? A lot of money. In fact, it's worth so much that it becomes a mathematical fallacy at some point, because when the compound rate becomes higher than the discount rate you get infinity, and that's a concept we like to think about around Berkshire though we may not attain it.
There's a book called The Petersburg Paradox and the Growth Stock Fallacy by David Durant, written about 25 years ago, and it gets into this bit where the growth rate is higher than the discount rate, and it shouldn't work for an extended period of time. Charlie?
[CM: I think a couple of things contributed to this phenomenon that we so carefully mispredicted. Number one, it became very fashionable for corporations to buy in shares, and I think that we helped in a very small way to bring on that. I think that was a plus in terms of corporate decision making. The other thing that happened is that the anti-trust administration got way more lenient in allowing people to buy competitors.
And I think that those two factors helped raise returns on capital in the United States, but you wouldn't think that could go on forever. What 15% per annum compounded will do is grow way faster than the economy can grow, way faster than aggregate profits can grow over the long haul ... I don't think we've reached a new order of things where the laws of mathematics have been repealed ... All of you should be aware of this, because all the people who are professional sellers of investment advice and brokerage services, etc., etc., have an immense vested interest in believing that things that can't be true, are true. And not only that, they've been selected in a Darwinian process to have formidable sales skills and large incomes. (laughter) That makes it dangerous for the rest of us.]
And you've been selected to be the recipients of their advice. (more laughter)
Source: BRK Annual Meeting 1997
[Q - Are corporate profit levels sustainable?]
Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at a record. I’ve been amazed. After being in a range for decades, it’s jumped up. I’d have to look at a chart, but other than maybe a year after World War II, I think there have only been two or three years in the past 75 where corporate profits have been as high [as they are today]. I would not think it would be sustainable. When they get up to 8% or more of GDP, that’s high, but so far there’s been no reaction like higher taxes.
You have lots of businesses earning 20% on tangible equity in a world where corporate bonds are yielding 4-5%. That’s astonishing. If you read a book, it would say it’s not possible. This is high, which means someone else’s share is going down, namely labor’s. Does it become a political issue? Congress has power to change this very quickly. Corporate tax rates used to be 35%, but now many companies are paying only 20%.
Corporate America is living in a great time. History shows this is not sustainable. I would imagine that it will not be.
Munger: A lot of profits are not in manufacturing or retailing, but in financial sectors. There’s been a huge flow of profits to banks and investment banks. That has no precedent. I don’t think it’s ever been as extreme as it is now.
Buffett: We’ve invested in and owned banks. If 20 years ago you’d asked me whether it was possible, in a world of 4.75% bonds, that countless banks would earn 20%+ returns on tangible equity, I’d have said no. In part this is due to leverage. A 1.5% return on assets leveraged 15 times is a 22.5% return on equity. But even so, you’d think once everyone was doing it, return on assets would drop to 1%, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Munger: Some of this is due to consumer credit, which has been pushed to extremes. Other countries that have done this have suffered bad consequences – South Korea, for example, really suffered for two or three years. I don’t think this is a time to swing for the fences.
Buffett: In South Korea, it produced some of the cheapest stock prices I’ve ever seen.
Source: BRK Annual Meeting 2007 Tilson Notes
Back in the Sixties, you disbanded the Buffett Partnership when you perceived the market to be overvalued. If you had only 100 partners in Berkshire Hathaway, would you disband it? (1999)
If I were limited to only marketable securities investments, I?’d probably put it out to the partners to decide what they?’d want to do. But we own many wonderful businesses, so we?’re not in exactly the same position. In those days, the expectations had been raised so much, I felt tremendous internal pressure to keep it up; I didn?’t want to fail delivering, so I folded it up.
Source: BRK Annual Meeting 1999
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