Grant’s Conference: S&P 500 – The Great Debate

“The market,” a.k.a. the S&P 500, comprises:

  • 99 stocks with a short interest over 5%,
  • 149 stocks with a P/E ratio over 25 times — or no P/E ratio

“Executions don’t kill. Research kills.” – Alan Abelson

S&P 500

“I think it is roughly right that the market is efficient, which makes it very hard to beat merely by being an intelligent investor. But I don’t think it’s totally efficient at all.” – Charlie Munger

S&P 500

Diversification: Can there be too much of a good thing?

“There is one thing of which I can assure you. If good performance of the fund is even a minor objective, any portfolio encompassing 100 stocks (whether the manager is handling $1,000 or $1 billion) is not being operated logically.” – 1966 Buffett Partnership Letter

“Over time, our policy of concentration should produce superior results. . . . ” – 1984 Berkshire Hathaway Letter

“If my universe of business possibilities were limited, say, to private companies in Omaha, I would, first, try to assess the long-term economic characteristics of each business; second, assess the quality of the people in charge of running it; and, third, try to buy a few of the best operations at a sensible price. I certainly would not wish to own an equal part of every business in town.” – 1991 Berkshire Hathaway Letter

“Once you are in the business of evaluating businesses, and you decide that you are going to bring the effort and intensity and time involved to get that job done, then I think diversification is a terrible mistake to any degree. . . . If you really know businesses, you shouldn’t own more than six of them.” – Buffett lecture at the University of Florida School of Business, Oct. 15, 1998

S&P 500

“I’m convinced that everything that’s important in investing is counterintuitive, and everything that’s obvious is wrong.” – Charlie Munger, quoted in Howard Marks’s “Dare to be Great II,” April 8, 2014

See full PDF below.