Larson praises Buffett's ability to steer Berkshire away from risky derivatives and excessive leverage. "By practicing prudence and patience earlier in the decade, Berkshire was in a position to put large amounts of capital to work in 2008. In other words, rather than blowing its ammunition hunting squirrels a few years ago, Berkshire has been able to shoot the proverbial elephants now walking by."
Morningstar's bottom line:
"Beyond creating a company that treats common shareholders with the utmost fairness and respect, one needs only to look at the long-term value created at Berkshire Hathaway to see why Buffett deserves the award. Since taking the helm of the sleepy textile business 44 years ago and turning it into arguably the strongest conglomerate on the planet, Buffett and his managers have grown the book value per A share from $19 to just over $77,500, as of Sept. 30. This translates to a 20.7% annualized increase in book value since 1965, versus a mere 9.6% annualized return in the S&P 500 (including dividends) over the same time period."
Larson appeared on CNBC this morning. That video clip appears above. He also did a video clip for Morningstar.com with senior stock analyst Bill Bergman. It's embedded here:
Current Berkshire stock prices:
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