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Warren Buffett's Call to Buy Stocks Endorsed By Usually Pessimistic Investor Doug Kass

Monday, 20 Oct 2008 | 7:27 PM ET
Doug Kass
Doug Kass

Warren Buffett's high-profile call to buy U.S. stocks may have its skeptics, but the often-pessimistic Doug Kass isn't among them.

(Earlier this year, Kass generated some headlines by publicly betting that Berkshire Hathaway's stock would fall, citing Buffett's "investment-style drift" and "bombs" among Berkshire's stock holdings. In March, he listed 11 Reasons to Short Berkshire. The stock is down almost 13 percent year-to-date.)

Writing in TheStreet.com today, the Seabreeze Partners Management founder and president notes that Buffett has "made only three boldly positive market calls in his career."

The first came in 1974 when Buffett said, "I feel like an oversexed man in a harem. This is the time to start investing." The Dow almost doubled over the next two years.

The second came in 1979, when Buffett told Forbes that "stocks now sell at levels that should produce long-term returns far superior to bonds." That prediction also proved to be correct.

The third positive call from Buffett came last Friday. While Kass notes that we'll be able to judge Buffett's prediction "only with the benefit of time ... when he has waxed enthusiastically, he has proven to be correct."

Kass sees more evidence that an upturn is coming in the lukewarm response to Buffett's call to action.

"I would also observe that the widespread dismissal of the Oracle's positive remarks by so many (including the typically permabullish media) is classic evidence of an inflating negativity bubble, which leads me to believe that an advance might be closer at hand."

While Kass agrees with Buffett's call, it's not a case of Buffett single-handledly turning a pessimist into an optimist. Kass says he's become more positive about the intermediate-term outlook for stocks over the last few weeks, although he acknowledges there are still "headwinds."

Kass writes, "At the core of my intermediate-term optimism is that, as a result of the unprecedented policy moves, investors soon will be less preoccupied with unconventional credit risk and will move back toward conventional recession concerns."

Current Berkshire stock prices:

Class A:

Class B:

Questions? Comments? Email me at buffettwatch@cnbc.com

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