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Rian Maartens
Founder & Executive Editor Monthly Newsletter
August Edition - Issue #15
 Built to make Billions?
Built to make Billions? - US News & World Report, 29 July 2007

To the legions of wannabes hoping to replicate, or at least aspire to, Warren Buffett's success as the world's greatest stock market investor, it's a depressing thought, indeed.

What if the Oracle of Omaha's brain is simply a freak of nature - a wondrous but ultimately inimitable web of neurons that somehow allows him to deduce profits like no one else? What if Buffett's $52 billion fortune is all thanks to a rarefied double helix strung with the genes of the resolute Scandinavian forebears on his dad's side and the brainy Estonians and arithmetically inclined Iberians on his mom's?

Consider Buffett's typical day at the offices of Berkshire Hathaway, the company he has run for the past 42 years, and you might throw in the towel right now. The spry 76-year-old arrives on the early side - usually about 8:30 a.m. - not to prepare for meetings (he rarely takes them) or check his E-mail (he has no work computer) or even to tally his stock portfolio (there's no Bloomberg terminal or even a calculator on his desk).

He doesn't read progress reports from his managers (he discourages them) or study the latest research from the top stock market analysts (he shuns them completely). He doesn't even talk on the phone much, save for the occasional call to his stockbroker, when he might give the nod to buy tens of millions of a company's shares in a single day - all without pumping its CEO for information or getting approval from Berkshire's directors or from anyone else except, maybe, a few words from his longtime confidant and Berkshire vice chairman, Charles Munger.  Read More...
 Upcoming Events
South African Inaugural Value Investor Conference 2007
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Friday, 26 October 2007
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28-29 November 2007
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 Berkshire Hathaway's Acquisitions
PetroChina shares fall after Buffett pares stake - Malaysia Star, 31 July 2007
Shares in PetroChina Co fell the most in 14 months after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc reduced its stake in the country's biggest oil producer.

HK stocks seen down, PetroChina under pressure - Reuters, 30 July 2007
Hong Kong stocks should fall for a second straight session on Monday after credit jitters led Wall Street to another tumble, with PetroChina Co. Ltd. (0857.HK: Quote, Profile , Research) likely to be hit hard after the Hong Kong stock exchange said Warren Buffett sold 16.9 million PetroChina shares.

Buffett cuts PetroChina stake - Associated Press, 27 July 2007
U.S. investor Warren Buffett has sold a small portion of his stake in Chinese oil company PetroChina Co. but still remains its second-biggest shareholder, according to an official filing Friday by the company.

Kraft falls on reported Buffett stake - Associated Press, 26 July 2007
Shares of Kraft Foods Inc. fell 4 percent Thursday after a published report said billionaire investor Warren Buffett had bought a small stake in the world's second-largest food and beverage maker.

Buffett the Homebuilder? - The Motley Fool, 17 July 2007
Shares in homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV) surged nearly 12% last Friday, on speculation that Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) was interested in taking a stake in the company.

Hovnanian rises amid talk of Buffett bid -, 13 July 2007
Shares of homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. shot up Friday amid press reports that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. might be eyeing the company.

Why is Warren Buffett so interested in the Railroad Industry? - Seeking Alpha, 06 July 2007
Recently, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) disclosed its 10.9% stake in Burlington Northern Santa Fe (NYSE: BNI) worth US$3.4 billion. To no one’s surprise, investors around the globe jumped on the Warren Buffett express.
 Warren Buffett - The Investor
Warren Buffett - Time - CNN, 30 July 2007
Last year Warren Buffett stunned us all with his incredible gift of $31 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His generosity will make a huge difference in the lives of people around the world, and his example will be talked about for decades.

Six keys to investing Buffett style - US News & World Report, 29 July 2007
The Warren Buffett the world has come to know is a plain-spoken, avuncular figure who seems more at home at a Dairy Queen in his hometown of Omaha than in a boardroom in midtown Manhattan.

How to make money the Buffett way - US News & World Report, 29 July 2007
What if the bottom was falling out of the stock market, and your portfolio had plunged by 10 percent in a week? And what if one stock, in particular, had seemed like a sure bet when you bought it last month.

Bringing Buffett to the beach - US News & World Report, 29 July 2007
You can explore Warren Buffett's winning investment strategies, plus take a peek into his personal life, in these books.

50 Checkpoints of Warren Buffett's career - Seeking Alpha, 24 July 2007
After having completed Buffett by Roger Lowenstein, a great book about this master investor, I thought of creating a summary, or actually a time line, of the "master and his canvas". In this timeline I have indicated the page numbers of the above-mentioned book from where I got the information.

Warren Buffett's Priceless Investment Advice - The Motley Fool, 17 July 2007
"It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price." If you can grasp this simple advice from Warren Buffett, you should do well as an investor.

Is Berkshire Hathaway a buy at $111,000? - Seeking Alpha, 16 July 2007
You can't argue Warren Buffett's past. The man is an investing genius and has made millions upon millions of dollars for his investors over his 50+ year investing career.

5 Potential Buffett picks - The Motley Fool, 12 July 2007
The track record of master investor Warren Buffett inspires envy: 40-plus years of greater than 20% annualized returns. That performance helped him build a more than $50 billion fortune -- among the largest in the world -- while doing something he loves.

4 investing gems from Warren Buffett - Rediff, India, 12 July 2007
Warren Buffett, probably the greatest investor of his generation, rarely communicates his investment ideas in writing to the general public.
 General News
Dreadful stocks to avoid - The Motley Fool, 31 July 2007
Warren Buffett's first rule of investing is: "Never lose money." To this, he often adds rule No. 2: "Never forget rule No. 1." Of course, following these rules is easier said than done.

Invest like a pro: Berkshire Hathaway - The Motley Fool, 31 July 2007
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Well, when you're learning a new skill, imitation can also be a great way to hone your craft.

Buffett holds sway in the White House horse race - The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 July 2007
Someday soon, Warren Buffett may have to apply his legendary stock-picking skills to the candidates clamoring for his endorsement in the 2008 presidential race.

All Intelligent Investing is Value Investing - The Motley Fool, 27 July 2007
This article's headline, a direct quote from Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, cuts right to the heart of the matter: If you are not investing based on fundamental valuation principles, you are not investing. You may think you are, but Ben Graham had another term for it: speculation.

Security analysis 101: Margin of safety - The Motley Fool, 23 July 2007
Margin of safety. Warren Buffett calls them "the three most important words in all of investing."

Message to Wash. Post's Romano: Warren Buffett explained why he supports Dems - The Washington Post, 19 July 2007
Buffett, chairman and CEO of the investment group Berkshire Hathaway and reportedly the third-richest man in the world, has given a specific reason for supporting Democratic candidates: He favors a more equitable taxation system.

Gates reports Berkshire Hathaway stake - Associated Press, 17 July 2007
Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates on Tuesday reported an 8 percent stake in billionaire Warren Buffett's investment vehicle Berkshire Hathaway Inc. through his charitable foundation and investment firm.

Investing's smartest players - BusinessWeek, 16 July 2007
Warren Buffett was buying up undervalued companies long before his brand of value investing became popular.

Buffett stakes out prez race - Boston, 16 July 2007
Someday soon, Warren Buffett may have to apply his legendary stock-picking skills to the candidates clamoring for his endorsement in the 2008 presidential race.

Time to cash out of the stock market? - The Motley Fool, 11 July 2007
You'll never hear this conversation after a little league baseball game: "Son, you did a great job sitting on that bench. The way you didn't play or even get up to bat was wonderful."

Tech stocks for Lynch and Buffett -, 10 July 2007
In recent years, "tech" has been something of a dirty word when it comes to stocks, and, at least to some degree, with good reason. The market's nosedive during the first half of this decade was caused in large part by the widespread overvaluation of tech firms, as speculators searching for the next big thing bid up the stock prices of companies with little or no history of success.

Investors should heed Warren Buffett's free advice -, 10 July 2007
There are many measures of Warren Buffett's success, not the least of which is his status as the world's second-richest man (after Bill Gates, according to Forbes). There's also the legendary performance of his Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A: 110000.00, 0.00, 0.0%) stock.

Buffett delivers stock gift to Charities - Associated Press, 09 July 2007
The five foundations billionaire Warren Buffett has pledged most of his $49 billion fortune to received their second annual gifts of Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. on Monday.

When bad things happen to good businesses - The Motley Fool, 09 July 2007
This "bad things, good companies" approach is a bread-and-butter play for the world's greatest investor, Warren Buffett.

Buffett and Pabrai break bread - The Motley Fool, 02 July 2007
An annual charity auction on eBay, with a three-hour lunch with legendary investor Warren Buffett as its prize, got under way last week.
 Interesting Facts
The following two quotations from 1995 and 1988, respectively, highlight Warren Buffett's thoughts on his wealth and why he long planned to reallocate it:

I personally think that society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I've earned. If you stick me down in the middle of Bangladesh or Peru or someplace, you find out how much this talent is going to produce in the wrong kind of soil... I work in a market system that happens to reward what I do very well - disproportionately well. Mike Tyson, too. If you can knock a guy out in 10 seconds and earn $10 million for it, this world will pay a lot for that. If you can bat .360, this world will pay a lot for that. If you're a marvelous teacher, this world won't pay a lot for it. If you are a terrific nurse, this world will not pay a lot for it. Now, am I going to try to come up with some comparable worth system that somehow (re)distributes that? No, I don't think you can do that. But I do think that when you're treated enormously well by this market system, where in effect the market system showers the ability to buy goods and services on you because of some peculiar talent - maybe your adenoids are a certain way, so you can sing and everybody will pay you enormous sums to be on television or whatever - I think society has a big claim on that. (Lowe 1997:164-165)

I don't have a problem with guilt about money. The way I see it is that my money represents an enormous number of claim checks on society. It's like I have these little pieces of paper that I can turn into consumption. If I wanted to, I could hire 10,000 people to do nothing but paint my picture every day for the rest of my life. And the GNP would go up. But the utility of the product would be zilch, and I would be keeping those 10,000 people from doing AIDS research, or teaching, or nursing. I don't do that though. I don't use very many of those claim checks. There's nothing material I want very much. And I'm going to give virtually all of those claim checks to charity when my wife and I die. (Lowe 1997:165-166)

 Book of the Month
Trade Like Warren Buffett

By: James Altucher
ISBN: 0471655848

A detailed look at the entire array of trading strategies and techniques used by Warren Buffett

Trade Like Warren Buffett challenges the current coverage of this great investor by including details of all of Buffett’s investing and trading methods, including demographics, mean reversion, arbitrage, market timing, as well as Graham and Dodd. In addition to the value investing approach, this book discusses other, lesser-known trading strategies and techniques that have helped to make Buffett the greatest investor in history. To augment the discussion of each strategy, Trade Like Warren Buffett includes interviews with leading professionals who reveal in detail how they successfully use the same techniques as Buffett.

Review by

 Upcoming Books
Warren Buffett Speaks: Wit and Wisdom from the World's Greatest Investor

By: Janet Lowe
ISBN: 0470152621
Available: 31 August 2007

Warren Buffett and Tao Te Ching: A Modern Investor and an Age-Old Philosophy

By: Yingpei Zhang
ISBN: 0979626404
Available: 01 October 2007

 Qoute of the Month
"Our method is very simple. We just try to buy businesses with good-to-superb underlying economics run by honest and able people and buy them at sensible prices. That's all I'm trying to do."  Warren Buffett
 The Team
Rian Maartens
(Founder & Executive Editor)
Marissa Knibbs
(Newsletter Editor)
Martin Cronje
(Website & Technical)
 Final Words
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