Defending Warren Buffett: "Getting Better With Age"


Stop me if you've heard this one before: Warren Buffett is losing his touch.

Throughout the decades, there have been any number of Wall Street types who have argued that while Buffett may have been a great investor before, he's on the decline 'now.'

There have been lots of 'nows' .. including 1988, when Buffett made his "crazy" bargain-buy of Coca-Cola stock , and the late 1990s when Buffett ignored the Internet's 'bright' future and didn't play along with the Great Web Bubble. "People said he simply didn't get it anymore."

Lately, Doug Kass has made some money (on paper, at least) by going short on Berkshire Hathaway, due to what he calls an "investment style drift" and "bombs" in Buffett's portfolio.

The stock has indeed had a tough year. As of this morning, it's down 17.8 percent year-to-date, compared to the S&P's drop of 15.6 percent. It is also, however, about four percent above its recent closing low of $111,750 on July 29.

This week, Gregg Greenberg at has a video clip that asks, "Has Warren Buffett Lost His Touch?"

The resounding response from well-known Buffett-fan and value investor Whitney Tilson is no, it's the other way around. "He's getting better with age," he tells Greenberg.


While Tilson acknowledges that some Berkshire's businesses are facing headwinds due to exposure to the weak economy, housing, and insurance markets, they're still enormously profitable overall and "going like gangbusters."

He points out that Buffett has done very well with stocks like PetroChina, Burlington Northern, Union Pacific , Anheuser-Busch and Wal-Mart .

And while some are worried about who will take over for Buffett at Berkshire, Tilson points out that some names have been identified by the company, although not publicly revealed. And that's appropriate, he says, since he expects Buffett will be running things for "awhile longer."

Current Berkshire stock prices:

Class A:

Class B:

Questions? Comments? Email me at