“As the subject of repurchases has come to a boil, some people have come close to calling them un-American – characterizing them as corporate misdeeds that divert funds needed for productive endeavors. That simply isn’t the case”
– Warren Buffett
Berkshire Hathaway – Shareholder Letter (10 pages)
Read Warren Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, covering business ethics, capitalism, stock buybacks, and more.
On stock buybacks – “When you are told that all repurchases are harmful to shareholders or to the country, or particularly beneficial to CEOs, you are listening to either an economic illiterate or a silver-tongued demagogue (characters that are not mutually exclusive).”
On efficient markets – “…stocks often trade at truly foolish prices, both high and low. ‘Efficient’ markets exist on in textbooks. In truth, marketable stocks and bonds are baffling.”
On his success – “The weeds wither away in significance as the flowers bloom. Over time, it takes just a few winners to work wonders. And, yes, it helps to start early and live into your 90s as well.”
On earnings – “Beating ‘expectations’ is heralded as a managerial triumph. That activity is disgusting. It requires no talent to manipulate numbers: Only a deep desire to deceive is required”
Credit Suisse – Global Investment Returns Yearbook 2023 (54 pages)
The Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook documents, analyzes, and interprets long-run asset returns for 35 countries dating back to 1900. This year emphasizes why taking a long-term view of the risk and return of various asset classes is important, what expected returns are from here, and how higher inflation and interest rates impact the returns of major asset classes. A few takeaways:
The evolution of equity markets – The chart below shows the relative sizes of equity markets around the globe and how it has evolved since 1899. The authors note the importance of taking a global perspective to make an informed investment perspective and that the US is the exception, not the rule, as far as historical returns are concerned.
As of 12/31/22
Asset class correlations with inflation – The chart below shows the correlation between annual inflation and real asset returns from 1900 to 2022 (note inflation-protected bonds, commercial real estate & gold have later start dates). Unsurprisingly, the major asset classes – bonds, stocks, and real estate – tend to fall when inflation rises, while commodities have shown the ability to hedge against higher inflation.
SPONSORED BY ACRETRADER
An Investment That’s Historically Beaten Inflation
With the CPI coming in at 6.5% in December, inflation may have eased slightly, but it’s still way beyond the Federal Reserve’s 2% target.
While farmland historically does not show much of a correlation with stocks or bonds, it has shown a positive correlation with inflation since 1969. Not only that—farmland shows a positive spread to inflation.1
As a real asset with a direct relationship with commodities and food prices, farmland tends to hold value and even appreciate when inflation climbs.1
Research from Nuveen, the $1.3 trillion investment manager of TIAA, has shown that adding 2-5% of a portfolio to farmland and/or timberland can improve a portfolio’s overall returns and at the same time reduce risk.2
AcreTrader makes it simple to invest in professionally reviewed farmland and timberland online. In the past couple of months they’ve reported on their first five fully realized deal cycles, and now have offering hitting the platform each week.
Visit AcreTrader.com/Meb to see if farmland could be the diversification your portfolio needs right now.
The 1,661 Opportunity Zones tracked by Novogradac raised $9.7 billion in 2022 and $34 billion since Opportunity Zones were created. Link
The last week of January was the first time that return-to-office rates crossed 50% of their pre-pandemic levels. Link
~70% of those who sign up to drive for Uber are saying that inflation is a factor in their decision. Link
Marriott room rates rose 22% in 2022 to top prepandemic prices. Link
Slide from SoftBank’s recent earnings call. Link
Emerging market stocks are still cheap compared to the US.
As of 2/3/23
Companies that had an IPO in 2020-21 have since seen large declines.
The king of quants
[2/16/23 – 40 minutes]
Apple | Spotify | Google
Cliff Asness shares why he believes investors are still under diversified, how he’s able to handle times when strategies underperform, and what he believes is the key to long-term outperformance
ReSolve Riffs with Jeremy Schwartz
[2/23/23 – 66 minutes]
Apple | Spotify | Google
WisdomTree’s Jeremy Schwartz talks with Adam Butler about inflation, Fed policy, factor positioning for the current environment, and more.
A Conversation With François Rochon, founder of Giverny Capital
[2/22/23 – 68 minutes]
Apple | Spotify | Google
Bottom-up investor Francois Rochon shares his investment philosophy, what his portfolio looks like today, the importance of not thinking with the tribe.
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