Money

Warren Buffett 'dead wrong'

File

THEY call him the "Sage of Omaha", but Warren Buffett doesn't always get things right. Just ask Warren Buffett.

In his annual letter to his shareholders, the world's most famous investor has offered a series of colourful mea culpae for a selection of market predictions which subsequently proved wide of the mark. Or, in his own words, went "dead wrong".

A decision to gamble US$2 billion on a Texan energy company turned out to be "in tennis parlance ... a major unforced error".

An investment in ConocoPhillips was "dumb" and, of an ill-fated foray into the textiles industry, he writes merely: "Aaaaaaagh!"

Mr Buffett's frank comments were published on Saturday in his firm Berkshire Hathaway's annual report. They come at a time when he faces widespread scrutiny for endorsing Barack Obama's proposals to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

The letter also comes amid growing interest in Mr Buffett's legacy.

At 81, and after almost half a century running the company, his investors have never been more acutely aware of the fact he cannot carry on for ever. With this in mind, Mr Buffett revealed he had identified an (as yet secret) individual, apparently from within the business, to be his successor.

He also reiterated plans to devote his $44 billion fortune to good causes, adding that despite his advancing age, he was in "excellent health" and not "going anywhere" if he could help it.

Berkshire Hathaway made $10.3 billion in 2011, down from nearly $13 billion in 2010. Much of the decline can be blamed on Mr Buffett's insistence a year ago that the US housing market was about to rebound. That prediction was "dead wrong", he admits. However he is adamant that basic laws of supply, demand, and human population growth must eventually lead to a recovery.

Elsewhere, Mr Buffett has become an object of heated public debate after he endorsed raising taxes on the so-called "1 per cent" of wealthiest Americans. He famously pointed out that his earnings were taxed at about 15 per cent, while his secretary paid twice that. As long as this endures, he believes the US will struggle to reduce its deficit. Opponents call that class warfare.

Chris Christie, the Republican Governor of New Jersey, said last week that if Mr Buffett thought he was under-taxed, he should "just write a cheque" to the US government "and shut up".

Topics:  investing stock markets



LISTEN: Resident airs frustrations over parking debacle

Paid parking has pushed hospital commuters into suburbia, proving problematic for residents.

Parking pressures felt in suburbia of hospital precinct

Slaves in Byron: The dark side of housing crisis

Housing generic.

A darker side to Byron's economy

NSW Sport comments on Lennox Head Ski Jump

An artist impression of the Ski jump facility at Lennox Head. The size of the structure has upset locals, but it may not be as big as it appears in the artist impression.

Lennox Head Ski Jump on its four week exhibition

Local Partners

Lismore City Council to demolish much-loved Lake Pool

LISMORE City councillors have backed down from spending $2.75 million to refurbish the Lismore Lake Pool, the scene of many happy childhood memories.


First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

Stories Troy Cassar-Daley carries around

LEGEND: Troy Cassar-Daley after receiving the Golden Guitar Award for Album of the Year during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

You can see him in Ballina this weekend

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Kim Kardashian slammed over Manchester tribute

KIM Kardashian has been slammed by her followers after posting a tribute to the victims of the Manchester terror attack.

Top Gun 2 movie is happening, Tom Cruise confirms

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Top Gun.

TOM Cruise delights fans with announcement on Sunrise.

The first Baywatch movie reviews are in

From left, Jon Bass, Alex Daddario, Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera in a scene from the movie Baywatch.

Critics were less than impressed.

Boyfriend loses it over sex lie

Stacey Louise’s sex lie destroys her relationship.

SEVEN Year Switch’s Stacey told a fib about her sex life.

Why Crowe’s thankful for those ‘bulls**t’ rumours

Russell Crowe and Terri Irwin in 2007.

Crowe and Terri Irwin have been dodging dating rumours for years now

Stars line up for writers festival

POPULAR: Byron Writers Festival 2016 recorded the biggest crowds in 20 years of the event.

John Safran, Deng Thiak Adut and Dava Sobel among others

MOVIE REVIEW: King Arthur - Legend of the Sword

Charlie Hunnam in a scene from the movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Why the critics have got Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur all wrong.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Slaves in Byron: The dark side of housing crisis

Housing generic.

A darker side to Byron's economy

Bonville to become new housing hub

REZONING: Large areas of Bonville have been rezoned for residential

Land rezoning will turn farmland into housing

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!