Here’s a quiz question: Why did the average investor see a 3.5% return while the U.S. stock markets averaged annual returns of 7.8% over the past 20 years?*
The answer is simple, the average investor bought high and sold low.
US companies measured by the Standard and Poor’s (S&P 500) have had about a 16% increase in their earnings, yet prices are about the same as they were a year ago. Hard to believe right?
Many US Businesses are performing at an exceptional level. Companies have innovated to grow their top line sales by approximately 11% (revenues) in a relatively flat economic period. Whether through lower prices or higher value, customers are buying more goods and services. What’s more amazing is many companies have figured out how to get more profit (the “babies milk” of a company) out of each dollar of sales. Personally I believe this is through the use of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Watch what people do not what they say. Sales for the full first weekend of holiday shopping – Thursday through Sunday – are up 16.4% versus a year ago according to the National Retail Federation. The American economy is not going to fall off a cliff – consumers are showing the way.
I find it insightful to pay attention to some of the greatest investors of all time – Warren Buffett. Many of our clients know what fans of Mr. Buffett’s investment prowess. We have differing view of some of his other views – but that is for another day.
Clearly he is one of the best investors, and for that we are all blessed to have the opportunity to see his moves “real time”, as opposed to post-mortem. I think he got one very right at the end of September.
While stock prices are gyrating, Mr. Buffett is buying back some of his own stock – the company is buying back their own shares. He publicly said he would spend up to $30 Billion of the current cash the company has buying their own shares. One of the smartest investors on Wall Street is buying back his own stock.
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