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Friday, 7 March 2008

“Thirty years ago, no one could have foreseen the huge expansion of the Vietnam War, wage & price controls, two oil shocks, the resignation of a president, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a one-day drop in the Dow of 508 points, or treasury bill yields fluctuating between 2.8% and 17.4%. But, surprise – none of these blockbuster events made the slightest dent in Ben Graham’s investment principles. Nor did they render unsound the negotiated prices of fine businesses at sensible prices. Imagine the cost to us, then, if we had let the fear of the unknowns cause us to defer or alter the deployment of capital. Indeed, we’ve usually made our best purchases when apprehensions about some macro event were at a peak. Fear is the foe of the faddist, but the friend of the fundamentalist. A different sort of major shock is sure to occur in the next 30 years. We will neither try to predict those nor profit from them. If we can identify businesses similar to those we have purchased in the past, external surprises will have little effect on our long-term results.” – Warren Buffett

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