Buffett Watch

Top Ten Warren Buffett Watch Posts of 2009

These are the ten most popular Warren Buffett Watch posts from the year just ending, as measured by your clicks.

#10. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Cuts Johnson & Johnson Stake By Half (February 17)

CNBC's Jim Cramer accused Buffett of "selling America" after Berkshire revealed in its quarterly SEC filing last February that it sold over 33 million Johnson & Johnson shares during 2008's fourth quarter, slashing its holdings by more than half.

The money raised by the sales helped fund Berkshire's purchases of $14.5 billion in high-yield fixed-income securities issued by Wrigley, Goldman Sachs and General Electric .

Warrants to buy Goldman common stock, a "bonus" in Buffett's loan deal with the firm, are today worth over $2.2 billion on paper, although that's down from over $3 billion in September.

#9. Warren Buffett Resolves the 'Mystery' of the 'Missing' Bank of America Stake(April 20)

In April, Buffett told Fortune's Adam Lashinsky: "We own stock in four banks: USB, Wells, M&T, and SunTrust."  What about the 5 million Bank of America shares Berkshire reported owning at the end of 2008?

They didn't come to mind, Buffett told us, because they'd been purchased by Geico's stockpicker Lou Simpson.

#8. Warren Buffett's Top Three Investment Rules for the Average American (July 10)

Buffett is asked by ABC News for his "top three pieces of advice for average Americans who want to grow their savings and keep their money safe."  His response: 

  1. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Always look at how much the other guy is making when he is trying to sell you something.
  3. Stay away from leverage. Nobody ever goes broke that doesn't owe money.

Buffett also threw in some life lessons involving the game of bridge and the value of education.

Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and CNBC's Becky Quick tour the Columbia University campus before today's Town Hall Event: "Warren Buffett and Bill Gates: Keeping America Great" at Columbia University's Business school.
David Goldman

#7. CNBC TRANSCRIPT: Warren Buffett & Bill Gates - Keeping America Great (November 13)

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates team up to answer questions from hundreds of enthusiastic Columbia Business School students brought together for a CNBC-TV special.

Buffett and Gates emphasize their "optimism" for the future, as Buffett makes a six-figure offer to underscore his confidence in the next generation of business leaders.

#6. Warren Buffett's 'Greenback Effect' Warning: A Call to Buy Stocks (August 19)

Buffett uses a New York Times opinion piece to warn that long-term inflation could be a side-effect of the government's necessary and appropriate attempt to rescue the economy through massive stimulus spending. 



Investor Warren Buffet participates in the Treasury Conference on U.S. Capital Markets Competitiveness, Tuesday, March 13, 2007, at Georgetown University in Washington. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert

5. Timeless and Time-Tested Warren Buffett Watch Predictions (November 30)

In keeping with Warren Buffett's long-term way of looking at things, we bring back WBW's timeless and time-tested predictions to mark the coming new year.

#4. Doug Kass Sees The "End" of Warren Buffett(January 27)

Doug Kass, the investment strategist who profitably shorted Berkshire shares the year before writes, "Buffett's salad days seem to be over; the only question that remains is the timing and to what degree investors will abandon the Oracle of Omaha."  Warren Buffett Watch readers disagree.

#3. Warren Buffett Tells Shareholders He Did "Some Dumb Things" In 2008 (February 28)

In his annual letter to Berkshire's owners, Buffett admits that he did some "dumb things in investing" the previous year.  Buying Conoco as energy prices peaked makes the list. 

Berkshire's controversial long-term equity put options don't, and they rebound in value by billions of dollars throughout the year along with the world's stock markets.

Warren Buffett - "Still at War"

#2. Warren Buffett to CNBC: Economy Has "Fallen Off a Cliff" (March 9)

#1. Warren Buffett to CNBC: U.S. Economy In "Shambles" .. No Signs of Recovery Yet (June 24)

The top two posts of 2009 focused on the topic that had everyone's attention this year: the economy.  They are among a series of bleak assessments by Buffett of the  current state of the nation's economy.  Along with "fallen off a cliff" and "shambles," Buffett said the nation was "still at war" economically (May 1), with business activity "slow" and "getting slower" (May 4), and no signs of any "green shoots" (June 25).

By October, Buffett softened just a bit to note "enormous progress" for the economy over the past year, but stuck with his view that the "patient ... won’t come out of the hospital entirely for a while."

Throughout it all, however, Buffett kept repeating that he's "100% enormously optimistic" the U.S. economy will eventually recover and become stronger than ever before.

It's that confidence in America that prompted Berkshire's blockbuster $26 billion deal last month to acquire the Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight railroad, Buffett's self-described "all-in bet" that the nation will prosper in the decades to come.

Current Berkshire stock prices:

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