By Adam Leitzes & Josh Solan
In the Buff
last spring witnessed the B-School version of Beatlemania
as Warren Buffett addressed a packed house at the
An elated Jeremy Siegel, author of Stocks for the Long Run, introduced the man whose Berkshire Hathaway defies all Wharton logic by racking up unprecedented gains without ever paying a dividend. It was Buffett's first return to the school that he attended more than 50 years earlier. And although the Penn public relations department probably would rather we not mention it, the Oracle of Omaha dropped out of Wharton in his sophomore year, supposedly telling his roommates: "There's nothing more they can teach me here."
Buffett's biggest problem these days is money; he's got far too much of it. Without the burden of billions, the Oracle of Omaha estimates he could rack up 100% annual gains easily. And all that without involving himself in the world of dot-coms. "I don't care if 10,000 people at a cocktail party are making money with Internet stocks," Buffett says. "I can't value them."
But if Buffett can't figure out the Internet, perhaps the Internet can help us Buffett-wannabes figure out the master. The sites that follow range from message boards to fan sites to stock screens. Each provides a piece of the puzzle in explaining how Buffett has picked nothing but winners since he was 11.
Pitiful as it may seem at
first glance, berkshirehathaway.com
should be the first stop for any aspiring Buffetteer.
"Being a lifelong technophobe, I tiptoed into the computer world only a
few years ago," Buffett self-deprecatingly
explains in the welcome to his site. While Buffett's
lack of Internet savvy is abundantly clear, the site's bland design is
deceptive as it allows the master investor's insight to shine through
uncluttered. Archived on the site are full annual reports for the past four
years and all of Buffett's revered Shareholder
Letters since 1977. If you're a real Buffett nut, you
can even order some hideous
prized discourse has piqued your interest in the company, head on over to the Berkshire Hathaway Intrinsivaluator. This intriguing tool estimates the
intrinsic value of Berkshire Hathaway based on a slew of parameters that can be
preset or fiddled with by any web user. Buffett is a
notorious student of intrinsic value, so examining
If you'd like some
further analysis to back up
Several smaller sites
from Buffett fans are excellent sources of info. The Toronto Investment Club
keeps tabs on all
If you want to generate returns like Buffett, you'll have to pick stocks like he does. While it may be tough to top the greatest stock-picker of all time, the web can give you a leg up with some helpful stock screens. MarketPlayer.com's Warren Buffett Stable Growth Screen is a good place to start. As the site explains, the screen's developers attempted to construct parameters that would have identified Coca-Cola as an attractive investment when Buffett bought the stock in 1988. The secret appears to be a focus on stable earnings and a historically low relative price/earnings ratio. Interestingly, the screen identified International Dairy Queen as one of the 16 companies that matched the Buffett criteria back in 1997, right at the time of Buffett's purchase of the company.
With sites like these revealing Buffett's next moves, perhaps we should follow in the master's footsteps and drop out of Wharton too. We've got a few months to decide. We'll run a few screens, try our luck and let you know.
Josh's Grade: B +
You can't dispute or diminish Warren Buffett's success. You envy it; you wonder at it; you try to analyze it--examine it upside down, inside out and sideways. But, alas, you will never duplicate it. Call it karma, charisma or a voodoo spell, Buffett's uncanny ability to pick 'em comes from deep down inside and nowhere at all. With that caution in mind, go out there and try to imitate Buffett's style of investing, because if there is one thing today's market needs, it is a focus on value.
Adam's Grade: C
"No one can not understand Coca-Cola," Buffett told students at the