Here are the posts that provide commentary on Warren Buffett’s letters to his Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, starting from 1977:
- Return on Equity (ROE) should be the metric for evaluating Berkshire’s performance; Berkshire will keep the textile mills open despite a low ROE; insurance companies can only rarely differentiate products, hence the only economic moat is lowest cost.
- Berkshire’s textiles are a commodity business; insurance underwriting discipline; the benefits of buying non-controlled businesses in the stock market.
- Discusses valuing Berkshire and its long-term performance; inflation and relative business performance; analysis of bond investments.
- Valuing Berkshire’s share of its non-controlled businesses; lauds GEICO and the managers of its other controlled businesses; more observations about the effect of inflation on business value.
- On buying controlled v. non-controlled businesses; Compares relative attractiveness of American stocks to bonds, after accounting for taxes.
- Using ROE to assess Berkshire’s performance; future insurance underwriting looks weak and Buffett explains the reasons why; using stock for acquisitions.
- Discusses valuing Berkshire with book value, and assesses the “economic moats” of Nebraska Furniture Mart, Buffalo Evening News, and See’s Candies.
- Discusses share repurchases; explores the efficiency at Nebraska Furniture Mart and the great business economics at the Buffalo Evening News; concludes by analyzing Washington Public Power bonds by the same metrics as he would a business.
- Berkshire’s stock may now be overvalued; book value may overstate liquidation value; stock option compensation too often rewards earnings growth without discounting for the growth in incremental capital.
10) Buffett in 1986
- A quick look at Nebraska Furniture Mart and See’s Candies; Berkshire acquires Scott Fetzer and Fechheimer; Geico’s moat; the stock market looks expensive.
11) Buffett in 1987
- ROE and margins of the Sainted Seven are sky high; sky high ROE derive largely from businesses that change slowly; Berkshire’s moats in insurance derive from financial strength and their ability to tolerate fluctuations in earnings; CEOs and rational capital allocation.
12) Buffett in 1988
- Berkshire acquires Borsheim’s; the insurance industry is hated and unpopular; Buffett’s method for merger arbitrage; a few shots at efficient market theory
13) Buffett in 1989
- High retail margins need low operating costs; Berkshire writes some opportunistic reinsurance policies; and Buffett offers lessons on taxes, preferred stock investments, zero coupon bonds, and leverage.
14) Buffett in 1990
- Discusses “look through” earnings, buying Wells Fargo, and Mr. Market’s mania and depression.