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Quick Hits: Warren Buffett Apparently Human


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

The Oracle of Omaha apparently didn't see this one coming.

Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) Class A shares recently fetched $80,300, down from the record high of $151,650 set last December.

This isn't to suggest that Warren Buffett has lost his touch – only that the companies he invests in have been hit by the economic downdraft like just about everything else.

The lesson for investors: Even well-run companies take hits in a severe downturn.

But if you take the long view, this might be a buying opportunity for Berkshire's stock.

Buffett missed the technology run-up of the late 1990s – perhaps not a bad thing in view of those who held on too long and saw the value of their shares evaporate.

Buffett graded his asset allocation "D" in 1999, when Berkshire-Hathaway's value barely increased; at the same time, the S&P 500, including dividends, rose 21%.

The cost of protecting Berkshire's debt against default is increasing, creating another drag on performance.

Working stiffs and billionaires alike have taken hits in the current economy and the effects are different for each. Certainly Buffett's numbers look daunting, but this isn't the end of the world - nor is it the end of Buffett's reputation as one of the smartest investors around.
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