Mr. Buffett is widely considered one of the world’s most successful investors, and has long held to his philosophies of value and frugality. He recently contributed an Op-Ed to The New York Times explaining his decision to use some of his personal assets, previously owning nothing but US Government Bonds, to purchase American stocks (The New York Times: Opinion – Buy American. I Am.).
A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, fear is now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors. To be sure, investors are right to be wary of highly leveraged entities or businesses in weak competitive positions. But fears regarding the long-term prosperity of the nation’s many sound companies make no sense. These businesses will indeed suffer earnings hiccups, as they always have. But most major companies will be setting new profit records 5, 10 and 20 years from now.
Let me be clear on one point: I can’t predict the short-term movements of the stock market. I haven’t the faintest idea as to whether stocks will be higher or lower a month — or a year — from now. What is likely, however, is that the market will move higher, perhaps substantially so, well before either sentiment or the economy turns up. So if you wait for the robins, spring will be over.
Like it or not, the fortunes of our country are closely tied to those of the US, and the new administration is inheriting one of the greatest economic challenges any has ever faced. I hope these comments from Mr. Buffett are indicitive of the discipline and fiscal conservatism that world economy sorely needs.