The financial world is a mess, both in the United States and abroad. Its problems, moreover, have been leaking into the general economy, and the leaks are now turning into a gusher. In the near term, unemployment will rise, business activity will falter and headlines will continue to be scary.
筆者註: 全球金融已經一體化. 由美國次按演變而來的金融海嘯由北美傳導至歐洲, 以致亞洲等新興市場, 然而, 銀行業乃百業之母, 為各企業資金的主要來源, 一旦心臟衰竭, 血液供應必然大大減弱, 身體各器官的正常運作也會受到負面影響. 於是, 原本屬於金融業的系統性風險無可避免擴大至全面的經濟風險. 如果將金融業視為上遊企業(以資金供應鏈的角度), 上游有事, 下游各企業(需要銀行提供資金的企業)豈能獨善其身? 所以, 當金融公司倒閉的新聞出現一段時間後, 其他 下游企業出現倒閉的新聞也是意料中事. 在銀行收緊信貸額度(Credit Line) 之後, 下游企業無可避免要停止擴充甚至收縮業務, 減低營運成本甚至裁員. 失業率上升將影響消費市道, 繼而影響企業盈利, 企業盈利的倒退甚至虧損將影響企業的還款能力, 繼而影響銀行的資產質素. 惡性循環的效果是壞消息不斷的出現.
So ... I’ve been buying American stocks. This is my personal account I’m talking about, in which I previously owned nothing but United States government bonds. (This description leaves aside my Berkshire Hathaway holdings, which are all committed to philanthropy.) If prices keep looking attractive, my non-Berkshire net worth will soon be 100 percent in United States equities.
筆者註: 巴菲特個人財富之中, 大部分是持有Berkshire Hathaway. 其次就是持有美國政府的債券. 可以睇到 巴菲特和費雪(Philip Fisher)一樣, 不喜歡持有現金. 而當股價吸引時, 甚至會100%持股.
A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, fear is now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors. To be sure, investors are right to be wary of highly leveraged entities or businesses in weak competitive positions. But fears regarding the long-term prosperity of the nation’s many sound companies make no sense. These businesses will indeed suffer earnings hiccups, as they always have. But most major companies will be setting new profit records 5, 10 and 20 years from now.
筆者註: 巴菲特的名句: "在別人恐懼的時候你要變得貪心; 在別人貪心的時候你要變得恐懼" 的確是投資至勝之道. 問題是, 幾多人可以實行到? 然而, 並非所有公司都可以逆市買入. 當中, 要避開的, 包括高負債高槓桿操作的公司, 以及沒有競爭優勢的公司. 對於那些體質健壯的公司, 雖然短期盈利會受損, 但是, 5年後, 10年後, 盈利回復活力以及再創盈利新記錄是可以預期的.
Let me be clear on one point: I can’t predict the short-term movements of the stock market. I haven’t the faintest idea as to whether stocks will be higher or lower a month — or a year — from now. What is likely, however, is that the market will move higher, perhaps substantially so, well before either sentiment or the economy turns up. So if you wait for the robins, spring will be over.
筆者註: 短期股市的走勢難以預測. 然而, 如果投資者等待經濟出現明顯復甦的跡象時, 那時股市極可能已經上升不少了, 因為股市的上升將發生在經濟復甦之前.
A little history here: During the Depression, the Dow hit its low, 41, on July 8, 1932. Economic conditions, though, kept deteriorating until Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in March 1933. By that time, the market had already advanced 30 percent. Or think back to the early days of World War II, when things were going badly for the United States in Europe and the Pacific. The market hit bottom in April 1942, well before Allied fortunes turned. Again, in the early 1980s, the time to buy stocks was when inflation raged and the economy was in the tank. In short, bad news is an investor’s best friend. It lets you buy a slice of America’s future at a marked-down price.
筆者註: 巴菲特再次強調, 壞消息是投資者的好朋友, 因為不利消息可以為投資者提供較低的進場價格.
Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497.
You might think it would have been impossible for an investor to lose money during a century marked by such an extraordinary gain. But some investors did. The hapless ones bought stocks only when they felt comfort in doing so and then proceeded to sell when the headlines made them queasy.
筆者註: 有些倒楣的投資者發覺自己通常是高買低賣. 巴菲特提醒你, 問問自己, 是否見到好消息才有信心去高追, 而見到壞消息就不安地沽出.
Today people who hold cash equivalents feel comfortable. They shouldn’t. They have opted for a terrible long-term asset, one that pays virtually nothing and is certain to depreciate in value. Indeed, the policies that government will follow in its efforts to alleviate the current crisis will probably prove inflationary and therefore accelerate declines in the real value of cash accounts.
Equities will almost certainly outperform cash over the next decade, probably by a substantial degree. Those investors who cling now to cash are betting they can efficiently time their move away from it later. In waiting for the comfort of good news, they are ignoring Wayne Gretzky’s advice: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”
I don’t like to opine on the stock market, and again I emphasize that I have no idea what the market will do in the short term. Nevertheless, I’ll follow the lead of a restaurant that opened in an empty bank building and then advertised: “Put your mouth where your money was.” Today my money and my mouth both say equities.
筆者註: 不要持有現金然後期望(觀望)政府推出利好政策救市, 因為政府的救市方案將導致通貨膨脹. 長遠來看, 持有現金是非常低回報的資產, 因為會被通貨膨脹侵蝕購買力. 相反, 持有股票長遠的回報將大大勝過持有現金. 巴菲特認為現時堅持持有現金的投資者是在賭緊自己能夠掌握股市的走勢, 和升跌的韻律, 是在等待令自己心安的好消息. 但是巴菲特認為現時就是買股票的時候.