February 20, 2016

Friday, the S&P 500 was unchanged while Toronto was down 0.9%.

Canadian Tire was up 3.3% to almost $130. I have not yet had a chance to got through its Q4 results.

Canadian Western Bank was down 2.8% presumably due to lower oil prices and worries about bad loans. They will soon be reporting fiscal Q1 reports but if the market “decides” it is worried about bad loans then the stock may continue to lanquish no matter what it reports or forecasts. In any case I certainly won’t be selling.

Next week will feature a lot of Q4 and 2015 annual earnings reports coming in and also some of the big banks will report their Q1 earnings next week.

I believe Berkshire Hathaway will report 2015 earnings on Friday February 26 or on Saturday the 27th. This will include Warren Buffett’s famous annual letter. In each letter after going through the results of Berkshire’s major segments and its investment portfolio Buffett usually includes a bit of an essay on some topic of general interest to investors. It’s impossible to know what topic he might address this year.

I would love to hear Buffett’s latest thoughts on the extraordinarily low short and long term interest rates and his views on pension funds moving more and more money into these bonds in order to better match their liabilities. I don’t think Buffett would approve of that. Other possible topics include trade deficits, budget deficits and the level of the U.S. dollar. Buffett also traditionally appears on CNBC’s squawk box answering impromptu questions for a couple of hours on the Monday morning after the earnings release. I consider this must-see TV for several reasons. One reason is to marvel at how the 85 year old Buffett can rattle off amazingly detailed facts, figures and names from memory. The main reason is to hear his views on the economy and various matters of interest to investors. He is always optimistic about the future and it can be comforting to hear him express his confidence that investing in corporate America (say the S&P 500) will always work out well over time. Ladies and Gentlemen, set your PVRs.

I would note also those most of Buffett’s many detractors have probably never actually read much of what he writes or listened to him speak because if you do it would simply be hard to be a detractor. His intelligence and integrity shine through his words so brightly that it would be hard to miss. And I would note that when I first heard of Buffett in the early 1990’s my reaction was along the lines of “what does that old guy know”. But upon starting to read his words and listen to him speak it was impossible not to become a fan.