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Buffett and Munger on Options

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In the annual shareholder meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett and Munger took on a series of questions from audience as usual. Although I did not go, I found some of those Q&A both interesting and educational. Thanks to gurufocus, the full transcript is here (WB: Warren Buffett, CM: Charlie Munger).

Q5: Would you use stock options to enter a position in a public co?

WB: If you want to buy or sell a stock, you should buy or sell a stock. We sold puts on Coca-cola once, but usually it is best to just buy stock. Using option technique is an idea where you get to buy a stock cheap. 4 out of 5 times you get it right and one time you may miss the opportunity to buy. We virtually have never used options to enter or exit a position. We have sold long term equity put options described in press report. We don’t get involved in fancy techniques.

CM: If I remember right, a public authority was wondering if they should set up an option exchange market. Warren was alone in the opinion (against it). You wrote a letter saying it wouldn’t do any good to throw out margin rules in this fashion. It doesn’t serve the country. I always thought Warren was totally right. Turning financial markets into gambling markets to enrich the croupiers doesn’t make sense.