Buffett Watch

Buffett's Berkshire Bounces Back to Beat the Bears

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway had been having a tough year.

In late July, we reported that Berkshire shares had fallen deep into "bear market" territory, with a 25 percent plunge from their all-time high set last December.

To add insult to injury, Berkshire was severely underperforming the S&P 500 index for the year: down 21.0 percent to the benchmark's drop of almost 16 percent.

That doesn't happen too often.   When Berkshire's stock ended 2007 with a gain of almost 29 percent, Warren Buffett Watch featured a chart showing that Buffett's stock had beaten the S&P in 23 calendar years out of the past 31.

Berkshire fell to a new-term closing low of $111,750 on July 29, one day after the WBW post headlined Berkshire's 25% Plunge Has Buffett Bulls Screaming 'Buy.'

Looks like they may be proven right.

Since that mid-summer low, Berkshire has rallied almost 16 percent, topping $130,000 in today's session.  It's still down 13 percent from the December high, but that's far from the clutches of the Bear, which is usually defined as a 20 percent decline from the highs.

And now Berkshire is back on top against the S&P on the year-to-date scoreboard.  Buffett's stock is down about 9 percent, compared to the S&P's 15 percent decline.

It's interesting to note that Berkshire's bounce back was underway well before the stock's market's surge in the last two days.  Buyers apparently liked the price, betting that Buffett would take advantage of the "weak and choatic environment" (to use Whitney Tilson's words) to pick up some bargains.  See yesterday's Constellation Energy steal, or "rescue," as you prefer.

Will Buffett beat the S&P for the third straight year?  The SEC's decision to put Berkshire on its list of stocks that can't be shorted for awhile probably won't hurt.

We'll keep you posted. 

Current Berkshire stock prices:

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