Last week, I reviewed lessons from Warren Buffett’s 1958 letter to partners of Buffett Partnerships.
Lest you forget, here is a summary of the key lessons we discussed in that review:
- In rising markets, there’s a rise in the ratio of mercurially tempered people – those with rapid and unpredictable changeableness of mood. The overall mood is of exuberance. People invest in stocks for any and every reason. These combine together to further stimulate rising stock prices. Whenever you find such a deadly combination next time, simply run for cover…because such exuberance will always leads to eventual trouble – stock market crashes.
- Be very careful while buying illiquid stocks – The impact cost of a large sell order can be huge in case the stock surges and a large investor wants to cash out.
- Illiquidity of a great stock can work to your advantage as a small investor. You can buy it over a period of time without impacting the price materially. Then, when big investors come to know the story and take a bite of it, you would’ve already made your money.
- Avoid extrapolating short term performance into long term performance. A 30-40% return from your stocks in one year doesn’t mean you will retire a rich investor in 10 years. It never happens!
- Use intrinsic value as a reference point to sell stocks – Sell when a stock reaches close to intrinsic value, and also when intrinsic value reaches close to stock price.
- Sell a stock (but only when you don’t have any investible cash left) if you can find a better opportunity – one with a greater margin of safety.
- Beware of permanent loss of capital…and then when you identify businesses that won’t impair your capital permanently, buy them and be willing to wait for even 10-15 years to create tremendous wealth from them.
Today, I review the letter for 1959.