Korean Guessing Game: What Stock Does Buffett Own?
The Wall Street Journal reports this morning on what it calls a "guessing game" among South Korea's daytraders. The object of the game: deciphering a typically "coy" comment from Warren Buffett.
The Journal writes that at his news conference in Korea, Buffett told reporters that he still has "one personal investment in the country, though he wasn't specific."
It's a matter of public record that Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway owns a 4% stake on Posco, the Korean steelmaker. It's been a big winner for him. But that's owned by Buffett's holding company. While Becky Quick points out to me that Buffett could also hold it in his personal account, that possibility didn't seem to catch on among those playing the game.
Instead, they focused on a couple of stocks that Buffett mentioned in his news conference as examples of what he or Berkshire has owned in the past: Kia Motors and Hyundai Steel, previously called INI.
The winner, as far as the speculations were concerned: Kia Motors, which soared 15 percent on the day, the most allowed by Korean Exchange rules. (It doesn't trade in the United States.)
The Journal says Hyundai Steel was seen as less likely because Buffett referred to it by its old name of INI. It seems that when you're guessing, you jump on any clue (or non-clue) you can.
Don't put too much faith in all this guessing. As Buffett himself has told us, all the speculation that follows him everywhere is just speculation. (Some have even suggested it could be a "sell" signal.) It rarely turns into anything solid.
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