Warren Buffett: Just Looking At The Price Is Not Investing | CNBC

Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO, talks about volatility in the market, the value of American business and what to look for when investing.

Our special guest this morning is the chairman and ceo of berkshire hathaway warren buffett and warren we’ve talked about a lot of things this morning we’ve got briefly your thoughts on the markets but there’s been a lot that’s happened to the markets since the last time we sat down with you volatility is back in a big way and that has the average retail investor

Kind of questioning what to do at this point it’s it’s scared a lot of people what do you think’s happening right now just in terms of the return of volatility is it something to be worried about what’s causing it well if you own stocks like you don’t a farm or apartment house you don’t get a quote on those every day or every week think you look you look at the

Business and the value of american business depends on how much it delivers in cash to its owners over between now and judgment day and and i don’t think it changes in 10% and in a two month period if you if you’re looking at business now you’ve got anything can happen in markets i mean anything can happen to mark is them that’s why they don’t ever borrow money

Against securities that the markets don’t have to open tomorrow i mean you can have extraordinary events so i think to some extent you can get some of the instruments that people don’t understand very well that have a lot of firepower at them yeah and the idea of people taking a position and they’re gambling they’re not investing nobody’s investing when they buy

You know some supercharged index on you know the vix does or something like that they don’t need it and there are it’s an unnecessary instrument out you know they will create instruments that the public will buy and you can just count on that wall street’s been doing that for since they meant under the buttonwood tree in 1792 or whatever was on the exchange so but

If you’re investing if i’m gonna buy a half interest in the macdonald stand and you’re gonna run it for mcdonald’s franchise you’re gonna run it i look to the business to determine whether i made a good investment and i’m concerned about you know whether we have new competition how we do over the year but it’s the business i look at when you’re just looking at the

Price of something you’re not you’re not investing i mean if if you buy something bitcoin for example or some cryptocurrency you’re not looking to the asset itself to produce anything if you buy an apartment house you’re looking at all the apartment houses your biopharm you look at the farm to us if you buy a whole business you’re looking how the business does if

You buy a part of a business why shouldn’t you look at how the business is going to do that people get charmed by by lots of action and the fact that things are liquid and all of that and it does have repercussions back into the market when you get something like you know aetn arrangement on the you know supercharged on the vix i mean where you can lose 90 percent

Of your money in one day i mean that really doesn’t belong with the word investment i mean it’s just it’s a gambling form of act although you’ve said yourself you you talked about this in the annual letter over the weekend and just even at the top of the show where when you look around for a business that you want to buy you can’t find any and attractive levels

However when you’re looking at equities you do see that as a good place the berkshire has been a net purchaser of equities this year in 2018 and that’s because you like the deals that you’re getting in the market you can buy small pieces of businesses for less than you can buy whole pieces of business and a premium you’d have to pay younger buying the whole yeah

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So you get a bargain as an industrial competitiveness and people if they just think of stocks as pieces of business they’d be so much better off and thinking on those little things that move around in price and and and i think with berkshire we have an unusual number of people the shareholders we just look at berkshire as a business a savings account that put some

Money in 20 or 30 or 40 years ago we retain it reinvest for them but we’re where their savings account and and that’s the way i look at my own stock that’s where charlie looks at the stock part of the reason that you’ve been so bullish on equities for many years at this point is the interest rate of inflation environment you’ve looked at interest rates and said

Interest rates are gravity on stock prices and when interest rates are so low stock prices inevitably are going to climb there’s been this really weird thing that’s been happening in the markets where all of a sudden good news that we got from a good jobs report made people start to worry that interest rates were going to climb and that the fed was going to raise

Rates more than aunt dissipated people got really nervous around that you can still see it every time we get up on the 10 year back towards 3% it gives investors or at least traders i should say some concerns about what’s happening how do you kind of a bond if you buy a 30 year government bond it has a whole bunch of coupons attached in the old days does now so

Electronic but it has a whole bunch of coupons and coupon says 3% or whatever it may say and you know that’s what you’re going to get between now and 30 years from now and then they’re going to give you the money back what is the stock a stock is a a the same sort of thing it has a bunch of coupons it’s just they haven’t printed the numbers on them yet and it’s your

Job as an investor to print those numbers on if those numbers say 10% and most american businesses earn over 10% on tangible equity if they say 10% that bond is worth a hell of a lot more money than a bond that says 3% on it but if that government bond goes to 10% it changes the value of this equity bond that in effect you’re buying you are buying when you buy it

And it’s in general motors or berkshire hathaway or anything you are buying something that over time is going to return cash – it may be a long time in terms of berkshire but it’ll be bigger numbers and those are the coupons and it’s up to you your job as an investor to decide what you think those coupons will be because that’s what you’re buying and you’re buying

A discounted value in it that and the higher the yardstick goes and the yardstick is government bonds the less attractive these other bonds look that and that’s just fundamental economics so in 1982 or three when the long government got to 15% a company that was earning 15% on equity but with no words no more than book value under those circumstances because you

Could buy a 30 year strip of bonds and guarantee yourself for 15% a year and a business that earned 12% it was a subpar business then but a business in turns 12% when the government bond is 3% there’s one hell of a business now and that’s why they saw were very fancy prices so 3% is a long way from 15% of georgia i watched it go from 3 to 15 oh – right is there

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An inflection point on that way because people think oh my gosh we’ve gone from 2.4 percent to 2.9 percent difference historically speaking that’s still the way we should be measuring these things not on the absolute movement or the percentage gain movement over time 2.4 to 2.9 is nothing if you’re comparing it with businesses a turn 12% on equity and reinvest

And the snp you can just look at the vigorous for decades has earned on tangible equities earned a lot more than that and it translates into more higher prices and it should is there a tipping point along the way or is it a gradual decline in internal body knows yeah but it’s it is gravity i mean if if you told me interest rates were going to be 15% next year

On bonds you know there’s a lot of equities i worked one home now and i wouldn’t i would i would buy a lot of governments at 15 and i kind of wish i had in 1982 but i didn’t yeah if i told you that the long bond was going to trade at four and a half to five percent next year it makes a difference but it’s been idiotic don’t long bonds during the light you know i

Talked about this in the report in german smart it’s just been idiotic and big public pension funds and all that they sat there and they owned bonds now they may have bought them on a four or five percent basis but if they go to a three percent basis there’s something way above par the the way people think about it is they do some very silly things i mean you lay

This out in the annual report but a lot of investors are told retail investors are told that they should have a certain percent of their portfolio in bonds maybe they’re told 60/40 maybe they’re told 70/30 stocks to bonds that’s something that you should do and that’s the safe way of doing it what am i missing some people should not own stocks at all because they

Just get too upset with price fluctuations if you’re gonna do dumb things because your stock a stock goes down you shouldn’t own a stock at all what are dumb things selling a stock goes it goes down i mean it it you know if if you buy your house at $20,000 and somebody comes along next day says i’ll pay you 50 you don’t sell it because the quotes 50 you look at the

House or whatever but some people are not actually emotionally or psychologically fit to own stocks but i think they’re more of them would be if you get educated on what you’re really buying which is part of a business and the longer you hold stocks the less risky they’ve become whereas the longer the maturity of a bond the more risky it becomes do you feel like

That’s a message that is getting through to people it’s one that you repeat again and again and i always feel like i was watching a lot of the olympics and i felt like what they do in the olympics is so easy these guys sailing through the air and doing massive spins on the ice and turns and then i read your annual letter and i think oh it’s really easy to invest

And then i walk away and realize it’s not that easy it’s not easy psychologically for many people but i’ve been i’ve been teaching since i was 21 i know our first class on investment and i had a class last week but with 11 schools 220 students and and some of them get it and some of them don’t people would rather gamble i mean the idea that you can double your


Money in six months that that’s just going to it’s why people go to the races why they go to vegas you know whatever it may be they they they even know the odds are against them and they still do it i mean it’s a strong instinct to want to get rich fast and i don’t know how to do it joe has a question that he’d like to ask to joe buffett you haven’t tweeted since

April of 2016 then is that true i didn’t really tweet that i’ve got i’ve got a friend that’s tweeted about seven times you know warren you were coming on squawk box this morning for three hours it would kill you to say i’m gonna be on squawk box for three hours and tweet that out that as a favor to becky and me i mean make me an offer i have never actually tweeted

Myself and i don’t really know how to do it and i don’t know how to look up somebody else’s tweets but i’d still you look at will you look into it baby life you know what i’m gonna tell you something more iii becky over the weekend i was trying to figure out i mean i get so irritated did i don’t need you know not not from people send it but now from looking at

What other people are tweeting and retweeting i get agadir de and i’m trying to figure out a way to still get the info that somehow sometimes i get but just without me being actually part of it as a party could be if you got away i can do it but then i’d still be following these annoying people i don’t know to me if we go to the final game if we go to the finals

Of the n-c-double-a and we’re together in these great seats up better deliver for you yep because great is in it i will have you tweet for me during the game careful what you offer or how would you like the keys to the castle with that you don’t be the designated twitter god there’s a lot i’ve never read a tweet you know what i’m taking creighton and xavier right

To the now i’m really gonna be rooting uh really you know i love it hi unblocked someone today that appealed to me through email and i’ve never done i had to figure out how to do it but it’s on a probationary basis at the board of discretion of the at the stress discretion of the board but i’ve never done that before so yeah if someone got back in but so you get

To do things like that if you come on warm i’d rather read to engage don’t realize how dangerous that offer is you just made because joe and i have joked around about getting ahold of somebody’s twitter account or their their information when they leave it logged onto a screen that we sit down at the things that you can tweet out things that you can so dangerous

Rating is what people are pretended to be me on facebook and twitter i mean have you guys gone after the people we did it for awhile just there’s just so many of them it’s all kind of hopeless every time you stamp one out yeah exactly hey there thanks for checking out cnbc on youtube be sure to subscribe to stay up-to-date on all of the day’s biggest stories you

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Warren Buffett: Just Looking At The Price Is Not Investing | CNBC By CNBC