Oracle of Omaha Errs

In his annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, while noting the per share book value of their Class A and Class B stock gained 4.6 percent in 2011, says he jumped the gun on the housing recovery. As Business Insider tells, “We have five businesses whose results are significantly influenced by housing activity. The connection is direct at Clayton Homes, which is the largest producer of (manufactured) homes in the country, accounting for about 7% of those constructed during 2011,” says Buffett. He says a market adviser would tell him to dump the stocks relating to the construction industry but that is not his style. Problem companies just require more managerial time than winners. He says, “….If the business will likely be a cash drain over the longer term, or if labor strife is endemic – we will take prompt and decisive action. Such a situation has happened only a couple of times in our 47-year history, and none of the businesses we now own is in straits requiring us to consider disposing of it.” Berkshire Hathaway owns Acme Brick, Shaw Carpets, Johns Manville (insulation), and MiTek (roofing connector plates). Buffett says in 2011 the five housing-related companies generated pre-tax profits of $513 million, similar to the previous year, but well below the $1.8 billion in 2006.

(Photo credit: trackrecord)

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