Monthly Archives: February 2017

Warren Buffett Loads Up on Apple

So… I guess you’re telling me it’s

Alice Schroeder’s opus The Snowball recalls a story about Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett’s teacher and mentor.  The year was 1956, and Ed Anderson–a chemist who liked to coattail Graham’s investments–walks into the Graham-Newman office.

“Anderson had come in because he was thinking about buying another share of Graham-Newman, but he had noticed an oddity and he wanted to ask about it.  Graham had loaded up on shares of American Telephone & Telegraph.  It was the least Graham-like stock imaginable–owned, studied and followed by all, valued fairly, with as little potential as it had risk.  Was something going on? he asked Warren…

From watching the firm’s trading patterns and keeping his ears open, [Warren] had already figured out that Graham was going to shut down his partnership.” [199]

Fast forward to 1968… After a epic run managing the Buffett investment partnerships (a “1 in 1 billion event”), the last chapter of that story eerily finds Buffett also purchasing shares of “the blandest, most popular stocks that remained reasonably priced: $18 million of AT&T…” [316]

Of course, the clearest analogue to yesteryear’s AT&T has to be today’s champion and market behemoth–Apple.  To note on this day that Buffett has loaded up on 40 million shares of $AAPL leaves this investor with a sense of foreboding…

If the pattern is to repeat, I guess something has now reached an end.

Disclosure: As of today, I am long Berkshire Hathaway shares and short call spreads in Apple.