(Update Feb 29 2009) CNBC is putting up some nice words on Buffett today. After all, he lent $3 b to GE (the parent co. of NBC) last fall.
(Original) In these turbulant days, investors, ordinary and professional alike, look for directions from investor guru more than ever. Of course among gurus people pay attention, is Warren Buffett quarterly stock holdings change: people are interested in what he bought and what he sold, some (like yours truely) tried to understand his move and thinking, and follow him if makes sense. To avoid copycats, Buffett usually tries to delay his 13G filings as late as possible (within the deadline of SEC, or other regulatories). He famous sent a regular mail to Hongkong Securities Exchange after he sold the PetroChina stock, postmarked by the deadline of HSE.
Back to topic. Yesterday was one of those days Buffett filed his holding change. There are some confusions about his Conoco Phillips (NYSE: COP), Jim Cramer even says Buffett is selling America (to counter Buffett own NYTimes op-ed piece “Buy American I am”). Note when Buffett said “Buy American I am”, he meant he was buying stock from his own account (not the Berkshire Hathaway). Well, selling America or not, the most important thing in investing, is not let your patrotism or other emotions to influence you. I did a little digging about Buffett COP holdings, partially for fun, partially because I bought some COP lately.
At gurufocus on Sept 30 2008 Berkshire Hathaway has 83,955,800 shares. On Dec 31 2008 some source such as 247wallst says the stake reduced to 79.896 million, which is confirmed by the page 4 of 13G form: OBH, Inc…79,896,273 shares. But obviously some readers forgot to read the page 2 and 3, which says Buffett and Berkshire owns 84,896,273 shares of COP (5.7% of outstanding shares). The 13G form also listed significant holdings of COP shares by Berkshire Hathway subsidiary such as Geico and National Indemnity Company.
So what’s my point? I think the takeaway is “read carefully, do your own some research” before “hear some news from so called experts, then jump into conclusions”.