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伯克希尔计划出售债券筹集资金,用途.........

(2011-08-18 20:33:43)
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杂谈

巴菲特:股价越跌越买进

 作者: Andy Serwer    时间: 2011年08月12日    来源: 财富中文网

     
 

 

     沃伦•巴菲特在奥马哈接受我的电话采访时说:“恐惧与贪婪之间没有可比性。”他大声说道:“恐惧是瞬间产生的、普遍存在的、激烈的情绪。而贪婪则更加缓慢。恐惧是致命的。”当天是8月9日,星期二,几个小时之前,美联储(Federal Reserve)刚刚宣布,至少在2013年之前,美国将维持接近零利率的水平;并且,美国股市再次出现了报复性的反弹——时间正好处于周一和周三股市出现的两次暴跌之间。

    对于我们这些凡夫俗子来说,今年夏天的股市暴跌令人难以承受,甚至会像电影《偷天情缘》(Groundhog Day)中的主人公一样感慨:“天啊,我受够了……”但对于巴菲特而言,这一切却让他精神百倍。那天,他像往常一样爽朗,并表示他“感觉非常好。”为什么不呢?正如巴菲特所说:“股票的价格越低,我就会大笔买进。目前正是我们大举买进的时机。”【买进的对象包括证券,以及大公司,当然前提是能找到收购的目标】(不过,他肯定不会告诉我又有哪些低廉的股票成了他的猎物。)巴菲特总是把他的工作描绘地轻松无比,但实际情况当然并非如此。要想像他一样,你得拥有一个数十亿美元的“战争基金”,像钛金属一样稳定的神经,还要有一个聪明的、善于分析的大脑。庞大的团队倒并非不可或缺的条件。

    我致电巴菲特,是希望了解一下他公司的近况,作为一个多元化精英的企业集团或控股公司,伯克希尔•哈撒韦公司应该可以有效地反映总体经济。但鉴于标准普尔(S&P)在调低美国国债的信用评级后不久,又将伯克希尔•哈撒韦公司的债券评级(被评为AA+级)预期从“稳定”调低至 “负面”,因此,首先我要征求一下他对这件事的看法。

市政债券是否安全?

    那么巴菲特先生对此有何看法?“以前,他们声称,如果他们修改对政府的评级,必然也会降低对一些保险公司的预期,因为这些公司都持有大量的政府公债。【巴菲特在接受媒体采访时曾经表示,伯克希尔公司持有的现金中,有超过400亿美元为美国短期国债。】所以,我能够理解调低伯克希尔评级,它是调低美国债务评级的联动反应,但我并不赞同降低美国国债的评级。美国国债依然是3A评级,毕竟,我们肯定能够偿还利息和本金,这一点是毋庸置疑的。美国能够偿还每一份合约。所以,我们的国债依然是3A评级。虽然我们的货币——美元——已经不是3A评级,但国债的评级依然不变。”

    那他的公司运行状况是否良好?“到目前为止,我们所有业务都在稳步回升,即便欧洲市场也没有想象中的那么遭——当然,与住宅建设相关的公司除外,因为它们还没有完全摆脱困境。【重要的是,巴菲特承认,如果过去几周的情形得以延续,情况会有所改变。】公司业务一直在稳步回升,甚至超出了公众预期。”当然,巴菲特的这些话也可能是在试图影响公众情绪,但巴菲特对公司的数据极其依赖,他应该不会在数字上做手脚。

    两个例子:位于以色列伊斯卡的一家伯克希尔子公司主要生成机械切削工具,目前已经出现增长迹象。巴菲特表示:“经过多个季度的等待,终于出现了增长。”他还补充道,这并不是因为市场份额增加。“而是意味着开工率在上升。”巴菲特旗下的另外一家公司TTI主要出售小型电子部件。他表示:“有点像卖软糖豆,不过我们的销售额有数十亿美元,并且还在增长。”还有一家公司:“在奈特捷公司(NetJets),客户的飞行里数也出现了增长。劳力士(Rolex)手表——我们是美国最大的劳力士手表经销商——今年销量上涨了27%”

    但伯克希尔公司是否有招聘计划?很多公司都宣称经营状况良好,因为生产情况优异。但这家公司的情况比较复杂。巴菲特说,所有公司都希望每年都能扩大生产。巴菲特称,上个月,伯克希尔旗下的地毯生产厂商Shaw解雇了400名员工,累计裁员约6,000人。当然,Shaw的业务确实与深陷泥潭的住宅建筑行业相关。“但等到行业回暖时,我们可能会增加数千名员工。”而另一方面,由于业务量增加,伯克希尔旗下的大型铁路运营商伯灵顿北方公司(Burlington Northern)今年将新增3,500个工作岗位。政府雇员保险公司(GEICO)今年虽然只增加了700个工作岗位,但他说:“我们在这一行业的【市场】份额正在增加。”

    我问巴菲特,这是否意味着看好保险行业的前景?他的回答是并不尽然。

    “汽车保险业的行情一直不错,但自然灾害造成了恶劣的影响。第一季度,国外发生的天灾给我们带来了沉重的打击,第二季度,国内又接连发生了自然灾害。”巴菲特指的是日本的灾难和新西兰的地震,尤其是第二次克莱斯特彻奇地震,此次地震对新西兰GDP造成的损失是卡特里娜飓风的十倍。巴菲特表示:“第一季度,我们针对与人身伤亡有关的损失建立了4,000万美元储备金,其中500万美元用于新西兰,3,500万美元用于日本。自然灾害造成如此严重的人身保险损失,这种情况确实非常罕见。”美国国内的灾害是指美国历史上最严重的飓风季,包括肆虐阿拉巴马州和密苏里州乔普林市的暴风。而且,巴菲特表示,恶劣天气仍在美国继续肆虐:8月1日,纽约州长岛发生了反常的雹灾,导致15,000起理赔,总价值约为6,000万美元,而且这还只是汽车理赔的金额。

    美联储维持低利率的决定在周二引起了股市的反弹,巴菲特对此有何看法?他说:“我很少会考虑这种事情。”我问他,在他掌握的数据流当中,是否有迹象让他担心美国会陷入新一轮衰退。“目前还没有。可能还需要一点时间才会显现。”

    与此同时,巴菲特正在计划买进股票——很明显,同时他也打算发售伯克希尔的债券。据报道,伯克希尔正在利用历史最低的利率,通过发行债券,以极其廉价的成本筹集资金对于巴菲特来说,至少目前还不是恐惧的时候,而是采取行动的大好时机。

    (翻译刘进龙)



    "There is no comparison between fear and greed," Warren Buffett is telling me over the phone from Omaha. "Fear is instant, pervasive and intense. Greed is slower. Fear hits," he exclaims. It's Tuesday August 9th, a little less than an hour after the Federal Reserve announced it would hold interest rates at close to zero for two more years and the stock market has gone into yet another major spasm—up at that moment between two hugely down days.

    For us mere mortals, this summer's stock market meltdown has a grinding, Groundhog Day feel to it, as in: 'Oh no, not again…" But for Buffett it's invigorating. Today he's his usual chipper self, saying he's "never been better." And why not? As Buffett reminds me, "The lower things go, the more I buy. We are in the business of buying," [both securities and, if he can find them, big companies.] (And no, he won't tell me what he's picking up on the cheap.) Buffett always makes his job sound so easy, but of course it isn't. All you need is a multi-billion dollar war chest, nerves of titanium, and a brilliant, analytical mind. Not a very big group there.

    I'm calling Buffett to ask him about his company's businesses, because as a diversified conglomerate or holding company, Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) is a fairly reflective proxy of the overall economy. But first I had to ask him about S&P lowering the outlook for Berkshire Hathaway debt (which is rated AA+) from stable to negative in the wake of the credit down grade of U.S. Treasuries.

How safe are your munis?

    So what about it Mr. B? "They said some time ago that if they changed the ratings on governments they would lower the outlook on certain insurance companies because they own a lot of governments. [Buffett reportedly said that Berkshire holds more than $40 billion of its cash in short term Treasuries.] So as a derivative move I understand it, but I don't agree with it because I don't agree with the Treasury downgrade. U.S. Treasuries are still triple-A in that there is no question that we will repay the interest and the principal. Every contract will be repaid. So our bonds are triple-A. Our currency, the dollar, is not triple-A. Our bonds are."

    So what about the health of his businesses? "Up until right now, all of our businesses have been coming back---even Europe isn't doing that badly---except for businesses relating to home construction which is on its rear end. [Importantly Buffett did say that if events continue like the last few weeks it will change things.] Business has been coming back steadily, even more than the mood of the public." Of course, some of this talk may be Buffett trying to jawbone that public mood, but remember Buffett is a voracious consumer of his businesses' numbers and wouldn't be one to misrepresent them.

    Two examples: A Berkshire subsidiary based in Israel, Iscar, which makes cutting tools for machines, is showing growth, "quarter after quarter," Buffett says, adding that this isn't because of market share gains. "It means that the machines are operating more." Buffett has another company, TTI, which sells tiny electronic parts. "It's like selling jelly beans, but we sell billions of dollars of them and it is up." And there's more too: "NetJets' miles flown by customers are up. Rolex watches -- we are the largest seller of Rolexes in the U.S. -- are up 27% this year," he says.

    Ah, but is Berkshire hiring anyone? We hear so much about businesses being in good shape because they are so productive. Here things are mixed. Every business looks for productivity gains every year, Buffett notes. Shaw, Berkshire's carpet manufacturer, let 400 people go over the last month or so, and is down some 6,000 employees overall, Buffett says. Shaw's business, of course, is closely tied to the beleaguered homebuilding business. "But when that business comes back, we will add thousands of employees some day." On the flip side, Berkshire's giant railroad, Burlington Northern is adding some 3,500 jobs this year as business has picked up. And insurance company GEICO has added 700 jobs, "but we're gaining [market] share there," he says.

So the insurance business is good, I ask Buffett? Not exactly.

    "Auto has been good, but catastrophes have been bad. International hit us in the first quarter, and domestic in the second." By that Buffett means the tragedy in Japan and earthquakes in New Zealand, in particular the second Christchurch quake which cased as much damage relative to New Zealand's GDP as ten Hurricane Katrina's. "We set up a reserve of $40 million for death related losses in the first quarter, $5 million for New Zealand and $35 million for Japan. Natural catastrophes that produce life insurance losses of this order are very unusual," Buffett says. The domestic debacles were the worst tornado season in history, which included the storms in Alabama and Joplin, Missouri. And Buffett says the elements continue to be most unkind: A freak hailstorm on Long Island, NY on August 1st, led to 15,000 claims worth $60 million, just in auto claims.

    And so what does Buffett think about the Fed's move to hold rates low that has the market all in a tizzy that Tuesday? "I don't really think about things like that," he reminds me. I ask him if he sees anything in his data stream that is giving him cause to worry about another downturn. "Not yet, but it would take a little while to show up."

    In the meantime, Buffett is looking to buy stocks -- oh, and apparently to sell Berkshire bonds too. Berkshire is reportedly taking advantage of record low rates and issuing bonds to raise dirt-cheap capital. For Buffett right now at least, this is not a time for fear. This is a time for action.

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