Berkshire Hathaway 1994 Annual Meeting Audience Question # 17

The importance of making your own judgment of a stock

Warren Buffett:

Zone 6.

Audience Member:

Mr. Buffett, I’m Lee Miller from St Louis.

There was an article in the April 18th Barron’s that attempted to calculate the value behind each Berkshire Hathaway share.

I’m sure you have some views on that and I’d be very interested in your perspective on that issue.

Warren Buffett:

Yeah, there was an article about a week or so ago in Barron’s. The same fellow wrote an article about four years ago reaching pretty much the same conclusion, and I hope he hasn’t been short in between, but the…

I would say this. It is not the way I would calculate the intrinsic value of Berkshire.

But everyone in securities markets make choices on that. Every day somebody sells a few shares of Berkshire and someone sell… buys… and, you know, they are probably coming to differing opinions about valuation.

I would say that I found it strange that apparently he forgot we were in the insurance business, but that… that’s not…

It really doesn’t make any difference. I mean, what… we don’t pay any attention to what people say about Coca-Cola stock or Gillette stock or any of those things.

I mean, on any given day, two million shares of Coca-Cola may trade. That’s a lot of people selling, a lot of people buying. If you talk to one person, you’d hear one thing, and you’d talk to another… you really should not make decisions in securities based on what other people think.

If you’re doing that, you should think about doing something else, because it’s…

A public opinion poll will just… it will not get you rich on Wall Street. So you really want to stick with businesses that you feel you can somehow evaluate yourself.

And, I don’t think… I mean Charlie and I, we don’t read anything about what business is going to be… the economy is going to do, or the market’s going to do, or what anybody… Anytime I see some article that says, you know, these analysts say this or that about some business, it just… it doesn’t mean anything to us.

You cannot get rich with a weather vane.

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