Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New 13-F Filing for Berkshire Hathaway

BRK-A released their 13-F detailing stock holdings.

Look, but don't touch. These securities may or may not be appropriate investments for you. Remember that Buffet bought these for Berkshire Hathaway, an insurance company, not for his personal portfolio. Even if he did buy these for himself, he probably has a different time horizon and financial goals than you do.

If you want to really get something out of reading a 13F, then try to put yourself in the shoes of the person who bought the securities. Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself when looking at 13Fs.

What information was available at the time?
Would you have made the same purchase?
Which of these holdings would you sell if a better opportunity surfaced?
Which positions are new additions?
Which ones have been increased or reduced? Why?

When examining individual companies in the portfolio, don't just look at the how much the share price has appreciated. There are other metrics that matter. Has the book value increased?
What's happening with the margins? Are their seasonal patterns in the business cycle that are about to emerge? Is there a preponderance of one sector represented.

13Fs can be great tools for teaching you how to think about investments. You first have to get beyond the ticker symbols and start thinking about the motivation(s) of the investor.


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