Buffett says 'terrible mistake' for long-term investors to be in bonds

Posted February 25, 2018

Buffett had a mixed reaction to the tax overhaul passed by Congress past year.

"In his early years, Jack was frequently mocked by the investment-management industry", Buffett said last year.

Berkshire on Saturday reported a record quarterly and annual profit, both of which received a $29.1 billion boost from the recent lowering of the US corporate income tax rate, which reduced its deferred tax liabilities.

The year also saw the company's war chest swell to $116 billion in cash and US Treasury bills, financial manna that Buffett wants to use to make significant new acquisitions.

In his much-anticipated annual letter to shareholders, Buffett explained that the company's net gain of $65.3 billion in 2017 was only partly due to his employees' efforts.

"Though markets are generally rational, they occasionally do insane things", said Buffett, adding that investors need "an ability to both disregard mob fears or enthusiasms and to focus on a few simple fundamentals" even if makes them "look foolish".

Buffett got a $29 billion boost to net earnings in the fourth quarter from the tax code changes. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company reported a jump of 87% in net annual income to $44.94 billion from the previous year.

At the end of his letter Buffett reiterated that Berkshire will be in good hands after his eventual departure.

"Price seemed nearly irrelevant to an army of optimistic purchasers", Buffett said. Van Damme is also board member of Anheuser-Busch Inbev and Restaurant Brands International.

A major reason for that decline was a $2.22bn loss from insurance underwriting, Berkshire's first full-year deficit since 2002, hurt by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and wildfires in California. The billionaire investor has long advocated for higher taxes on the wealthy, while the new law reduced the top income-tax rate. And it holds major investments in such companies as Coca-Cola Co., Apple and Wells Fargo & Co. That ended a year ago, and Buffett - who bet slow, steady gains by the S^and^P 500 would beat out hedge funds over the decade - won with flying colors.

Buffett said it is a "terrible mistake" for investors with long-term horizons - among them, pension funds, college and endowments and savings-minded individuals - to measure their investment "risk" by their portfolio's ratio of bonds to stocks.