Stephen Gandel shares an interesting observation in Fortune ” Warren Buffett’s Berkshire lost $11 billion in market selloff“. He points out that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A or BRK.B) is tracking the U.S. stock indexes on the downside. He says:
“…during the worst of the downturn from mid-July to the end of August. That represents a 10.3% drop. The good news for Buffett: His, and his investment team’s, performance was likely not much worse than everyone else’s. During the same time, the S&P 500 fell 10.1%.”
Comparing performance to others or “benchmark” indexes is a what I call a “relative return” objective. Comparing performance vs. our own risk tolerance and total return objectives is an “absolute return” objective. The two are very different as what I call “relativity” is more concerned about how others are doing comparatively, while “absolute” is more focused on our own situation.
The article also said:
“If you are invested in an index fund, you may have outperformed the Oracle of Omaha, slightly.”
Let’s see just how true that is. Since the topic is how much Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has lost during this stock market decline, I’ll share a closer look.
A picture speaks a thousand words. As it turns out, the guru stock picker is actually down -13.4% off it’s high looking back over the past year. That’s about -4% worse than the SPDR® S&P 500® ETF (SPY) that seeks to provide investment results that, before expenses, correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the S&P 500® Index. I am using actual securities here to present an investable comparison: SPY vs. BRK.B.
As we observe in the chart, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway began to decline off it’s high at the end of last year while the S&P 500® Index started last month. I have observed more and more stocks declining over the past several months. At the same time, more and more International markets have entered into their own bear markets. So, it is no surprise to see a focused stock portfolio diverge from a broader stock index. Stephen Gandel points out some of the individual stock positions in ” Warren Buffett’s Berkshire lost $11 billion in market selloff“
Below is the total return of the two over the past year. We can see the high in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway BRK.B was in December 2014.
I believe world markets require active risk management and defining directional trends. For me, that means predefining my risk in advance in each position and across the portfolio.
Chart source: http://www.ycharts.com
Read the full Fortune article here: ” Warren Buffett’s Berkshire lost $11 billion in market selloff“