May 11, 2013 Comments

Friday was another good day on the markets with Canadian Tire up another 1.7% and Melcor up 1.9% and Bombardier was up 5.4%.

Berkshire Hathaway is updated and rated (lower) Buy at $111.82. With the recent strong gains in this stock (it is up 25% this year) I am tempted to sell some of my holding. It is not going to rocket ahead and could suffer a decline. But generally anytime I have sold this stock it has been a mistake.

The story of Berkshire is well beyond remarkable. Buffett took control of the company in 1965 and he measures its growth based on the growth in its book value per share from September 1964 which was the last annual report before he took control. The share price was driven up over $19 as he took control but was apparently in the $14 range earlier that year. The same shares now trade at $167,780. The increase in the share price since 1965 is just under or somewhat over one million percent (10,000 times increase) depending what price you take as the starting point.

I have not seen this one million percent ,milestone mentioned in the financial press. It seems like the press are not quite able to comprehend this figure. Buffett very quietly mentioned in a CNBC interview that the stock was up 10,000 fold but the journalists failed to pick up on this.

Buffett has ALWAYS judged the growth of Berkshire by the increase in Book Value per share. This has grown at about 615,000% since 1964. I have it on the very best of authority that Buffett “likes that one million percent figure”. I think he would like to see that mark reached before his time as CEO ends. That could be done at the end of 2017 if the growth averages 11% per year, which is a stretch but possible. Buffett is an EXTREMELY competitive man (though he comes across as low key).

Berkshire also reached number 5 on the Fortune 500 list this year. Although Exxon and Walmart are much bigger, you can bet he has his eye on the number 1 spot, or at least on moving up another spot or two.

At the annual meting this year Buffett noted that Berkshire had reached number 5 as well on the list of most valuable companies in the world by market capitalization. Again, he will have his eye on the spots above him.

With all of this, I think I shall ride the Buffett coattails for a while yet and hang onto my shares. If the shares should drop say 10% I would then likely add to my position.

 

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