QUICK: Another question from a shareholder. We mentioned earlier that you've got at least 65,000 new shareholders, maybe another 100,000 that you've been watching, and you say that you're trying to teach them that they're there for the long haul. But just so you get a sense of what some--of something shareholders are thinking, Anthony Tate writes in. He's from Clinton, Maryland. He says, "I recently purchased 10 shares of Berkshire B shares as a rookie investor." He's just curious, "Where do you see this stock in, say, about six months in terms of value? My plan is to hold on to it long-term. So I just want some insight as to whether this is a good stock to hold on to. Is six months a long-term investor in your mind?"
BUFFETT: No, no. I have no idea where it will be in six months. None, just zero.
BUFFETT: I mean, my son's bidding on a farm in Illinois. He's already farming a lot of acres. Is he buying that with the idea that he's going to sell it in six months, you know? Six months is not an investment period. There's no one in any--there isn't one stock I own, whether it's Coca-Cola or Wells Fargo or Berkshire Hathaway or--I don't have any idea whether they're going to be up 20 percent, down 20 percent. Just no idea at all. If they go down a lot and I have some money, I'll buy some more of them, you know. But it's very interesting. People who buy farms are much more logical about it, usually, than people that buy stocks. They buy a farm, they don't get a quote on it the next day or the day after. They don't buy it at 11 in the morning and think `I'm going to sell it at 4 in the afternoon.' They look at what the farm's going to do over time. And that's what I try to talk about to Berkshire shareholders. And not everybody feels that way about stocks. And I'm not quarreling with them, they just shouldn't own Berkshire unless they have a very long time horizon.
QUINTANILLA: Warren, just listening to you a second ago, I think our eyebrows were raised when you said, `Oh, if the stock goes down 20 percent, I have some money, I'll buy some more of it.' Hope you'll forgive the broad stock question, but has your appetite for new stock purchases of any company been whetted because of the rise in markets or are you as optimistic now about stocks as you were when you wrote in The Times last year, year before?
BUFFETT: My enthusiasm for stocks is in direct proportion to how far they go down. I like it when things I like go down in price. Incidentally, if you own a farm in Nebraska and you've been waiting for your neighbor, you know, something to happen so you can buy the farm next to you, you hope farm prices are down when he decides to move or he dies or whatever it may be. And similarly, we are going to have money to invest forever. Money keeps coming in to Berkshire. Am I better off if I have to pay high prices or low prices? So it's not bad news for us when stocks go down at all. Now, you know, it's bad news for us when something goes wrong with a company. But the fact that something gets cheaper, I mean, if I walked into McDonald's tomorrow and they've cut the prices of hamburgers by half, you know, I will be happy because I'm going to be buying hamburgers for a long time.
QUINTANILLA: Sure. But...
BUFFETT: And if they double, you know--go ahead.
QUINTANILLA: Does that mean--does that mean there are--you see fewer bargains right now, obviously, given the rise since March of last year?
BUFFETT: Sure. There's--stocks are a lot less attractive now then they were a year ago. Far less attractive.
KERNEN: Hey, Warren, when...
BUFFETT: And bonds are less attractive. Bonds are less attractive, too.
QUINTANILLA: Warren, you go--we know this is--you're passionate about this from the letter, you go into a long hypothetical about company A buying company B whose stock is undervalued. You say that CEOs long on confidence and short on smarts, wants to buy company B for the prestige and maybe the compensation. Is that a--is that a veiled slight at Rosenfeld?
BUFFETT: No, it's 50 years of being in board rooms and just seeing what happens. And you know, Keynes talked about--probably the best--the best chapters written on investing were chapters eight and 20 in "The Intelligent Investor" for individual investing. The best chapter ever written in sort of describing how the world works in markets is chapter 12 of "The General Theory" written by Keynes and in it he talks about animal spirits and what causes people to do the deals and all of that. It's a marvelous chapter. And I'm not sure that he had Kraft in mind, but he had a lot of the companies that I've experienced over the years in mind. It's a very normal thing. I mean, you know, everything looks--everything looks rosy, you know, when you first are looking at a deal. You don't see the downsides. You don't see the execution problems, you don't see the people who are going to leave. You don't see--you don't see all kinds of things. And I'm guilty of that, too, incidentally. I've made some dumb deals in my life and I'll make some more dumb deals and animal spirits will enter into those dumb deals. I guarantee you that. I just try to keep them under control and if I don't, I count on Charlie to keep me under control.
QUICK: OK, let's get to some more shareholder questions, or some more viewer questions. This comes from Zanesville, Ohio, Robert Shackelford. He says, "Would you be greedy or fearful in today's market?" You talk all the time about how you should be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy.
QUICK: Well, what are you?
BUFFETT: Well, I always start from a position of fear. And then when I see something that looks attractive, I start getting greedy. So--but I'm always looking at the downside on something first. I mean, if you can't lose money, you're going to make money. And we--one reason we've done reasonably well, and this really go--goes back to when I was age 20 and learned from Graham, because my first 10 years were the best, is we've never lost a lot of money as a percentage of our net worth. I mean, and--in terms of permanent loss. Now, things may go down 50 percent. Berkshire's stock has gone down 50 percent four times in the time that I've owned it. But in terms of permanent loss, we've never--we've had plenty of losses, but they've never been the kind that really are destructive. And I always look at the downside first in anything.
QUICK: But in the broad sense of the markets, I mean, if you're looking at late 2008, early 2009, there was so much fear out there.
QUICK: When you measure now, if you had to put a tipping scale on more greedy investors right now or more fearful investors, which way would the scale tip?
BUFFETT: Over a long period of time--I mean, if you're investing, and you should invest for the long term, I would rather own equities than have fixed-dollar investments and have--or keep my money rolling short-term.
QUICK: OK. This question comes from David in Los Angeles. He says, "Do you feel the uptick rule is beneficial for investors in the market as a whole? And if so, why?"（註：Uptick rule為平盤以下不得放空。）
BUFFETT: On balance, I probably favor it. It's not something that makes a lot of difference to an investor. It really doesn't make any difference to an investor. If you--if you're an investor and you buy a stock, I don't know whether there's an uptick rule in farms, you know, or in apartment houses. The important thing is to buy the right company. And the uptick rule should be of no concern to real investors.
QUICK: Unless you're somebody who's maybe a hedge fund, who's used to shorting things, and you get worried that your strategy's not going to work in the future.
BUFFETT: Shorting isn't investing. That doesn't mean you can't make money doing it and all of that, but that--if you're talking to the American public about what they do with their money, they ought to forget all about shorting and they should--they should not buy an invest--they should buy an investment with the idea that if the stock exchange closed tomorrow for two or three years, they'd be very happy, you know, with the business.