Best investment adviser Richard Losch's blog

The Paradox of Risk

The current market has discounted a great deal of disaster. Mr. Market appears convinced that we have gone off the cliff and that a great deflationary chasm lies beneath us. So today the perception of risk by the people listed above is the opposite of what it was in June of 2007, yet chances are they are just as wrong today as they were then, logic and mathematics would suggest that the actual risk inherent in most equity investments today is lower than it was a year and half ago.

Bear Markets

It will take more than a couple of years to de-lever the world. That does not mean the market will continue lower from here, but I, as investment manager, do not see a return to a long term (secular) bull market any time soon.

Generational Event

Hyman Minsky, an economist popular in the nineteen seventies, held that the capitalistic economy has an inherent tendency to develop instability. This instability eventually erupts into a in severe economic crises. In his words "stability is unstable". He said in the 1970’s that the key mechanism that pushes the economy towards a crisis is the accumulation of debt.

Orange sheets - Money is doing better

I am sending these orange sheets because of the near panic conditions on Wall Street, and because I, as investment manager, suspect that your money is probably doing better than you expect. Maybe these orange sheets will offer some comfort. It is gratifying to me that we have been able to out-perform the S&P by at least 25% in the last twelve and a half months.

Inflation Not The Problem

The strongest argument in support the view of Edwards and Montier (authors article "Inflation Not The Problem") is that the generals always fight the last war. Since the last big battle was inflation that is what most people are worried about, and this concern will make central banks slow to respond to the threat of deflation.

Tipping Point

In its annual report, the central bank for central banks said the impact of rising food and energy prices on consumers' incomes, combined with heavy household debts and a pullback in bank lending, may lead to a slowdown in global growth that "could prove to be much greater and longer-lasting than would be required to keep inflation under control. Over time, this could potentially even lead to deflation".

LTCM - Moral Hazard

I, as investment manager, just finished rereading "When Genius Failed" Roger Lowenstein’s excellent book about the fall of Long Term Capital Management (LTCM). I thought it would be interesting to compare this earlier blow up with the current pyrotechnics in the bond market; and the fall of Bear Sterns. Indeed the parallels are surprising, surprising that is, if you assume, like I do, that large financial institutions should be able to learn from their mistakes.

Financial Hurricane Insurance

It should come as no surprise then that Berkshire Hathaway has jumped with both feet into the market for insuring Wall Street and other financial institutions against financial hurricanes.

Western Refining Inc

Western Refining Inc is an independent crude oil refiner and marketer of refined products. It also operates service stations and convenience stores. The Western Refining owns and operates four refineries with a total crude oil capacity of approximately 234,000 barrels per day.

Berkshire Hathaway Year To Date

So far in the year to date, Berkshire Hathaway has continued to power our portfolios to a strong level of out-performance. The composite result of our accounts up 2.0% for the year as of February 29th compared the S&P 500 and the Wilshire 5000 which are down 9.38% and 9.20% respectively. For the 12 months ended on February 29 our composite result was up 24.7% while the S&P and the Wilshire were both off about 5.5%. This Relative margin of plus 30% for the 12 months feels good for now, but positive trends do not go on forever so enjoy the good news while it lasts. If the Bear Market continues (which I think likely) sooner or later it takes down even the strongest companies.


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