Buffett Watch

Warren Buffett to CNBC: Countrywide Speculation is Just Speculation - Becky Quick Wraps It Up

**FILE** The Countrywide Banking and Home Loans office in Glendale, Calif. is seen in this April 26, 2007 file photo. Countrywide Financial Corp.'s profit shrank by nearly a third in the second quarter as a slumping housing market put pressure on the mortgage lender's customers, the company said Tuesday, July 24, 2007. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, file)
Damian Dovarganes

It's been a busy day for Warren Buffett Watch, starting with this morning's speculative piece in the Wall Street Journal that named Countrywide, and a few others, as possible Buffett buying targets.  That piece featured a great quote from Mr. Buffett comparing his ability to spend "when things are right" to one of history's great all-time shoppers, Imelda Marcos.

CNBC's Becky Quick spoke on the telephone with Mr. Buffett today, and as usual he didn't have anything to say about his specific plans.  The speculation, he told her, is just ... speculation.  Even so, Countrywide shares shot up 10% today (perhaps making them less attractive to the always bargain-minded Mr. Buffett, if he hasn't bought some already!)  Current real-time price:

Buffett + Countrywide?

Becky filed this wrap-up report for CNBC's Closing Bell.  It does include one "sweet" scoop directly from Warren's mouth.  That scoop is right at the end of the clip.

Becky's earlier TV reports, a conversation with Motley Fool senior analyst Bill Mann, and our complete off-air interview with Buffett-watcher Andrew Kilpatrick can all be found in this Warren Buffett Watch post from earlier today.


In a short piece on Forbes.com, Richard Phalon says despite all the "gee-whiz" headlines, the Berkshire Hathaway "mystique may be wearing thin among longtime devotees."  One of them, reports Forbes, is the Sequoia mutual fund which has held Berkshire shares for several decades.  Forbes says that since the beginning of 2005, "Sequoia has unloaded $650 million of Berkshire shares," reducing the Berkshire portion of its portfolio to 26% from 35%.  Why?  "Its desire for better diversification and Buffett's age."

Also "lightening up" last fall: Weitz Value (7.6% to 7.4%) and Weitz Partners Value (7.6% to 7.2%).  Omaha-based Wallace Weitz tells Forbes he still "loves" Berkshire, but trimmed his stakes to buy "other holdings."  It's a small decline, says Forbes, "yet it's equivalent to a devout Muslim deciding to skip some of the required daily prayers."

And Forbes says Christopher Davis sold all $49 million of the Berkshire A shares in his Davis Financial Fund for a $20 million profit.  Three other Davis funds haven't made any changes. 

(Free registration may be necessary to see the Forbes piece online.)

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