Warren Buffett's Priceless Investment Advicehttp://www.fool.com/investing/value/2009/05/14/warren-buffetts-priceless-investment-advice.aspx John Reeves
May 14, 2009
"It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price."
If you can grasp this simple advice from Warren Buffett, you should do well as an investor. Sure, there are other investment strategies out there, but Buffett's approach is both easy to follow and demonstrably successful over more than 50 years. Why try anything else?
Two words for the efficient market hypothesis: Warren Buffett
Buffett has delivered these outstanding returns by buying undervalued shares in great companies such as Gillette, now owned by Procter & Gamble. Over the years, Berkshire has owned household names such as Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) , SunTrust Banks (NYSE: STI ) , and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) .
Although not every pick worked out, for the most part Buffett and Berkshire have made a mint. Indeed, Buffett's investment in Gillette increased threefold during the 1990s. Who'd have guessed you could get such stratospheric returns from razors?
The devil is in the details
Buffett recommends that investors look for companies that deliver outstanding return on capital and produce substantial cash profits. He also suggests that you look for companies with a huge economic moat to protect them from competitors. You can identify companies with moats by looking for strong brands that stand alongside consistent or improving profit margins and returns on capital.
How do you determine the right buy price for shares in such companies? Buffett advises that you wait patiently for opportunities to purchase stocks at a significant discount to their intrinsic values -- as calculated by taking the present value of all future cash flows. Ultimately, he believes that "value will in time always be reflected in market price." When the market finally recognizes the true worth of your undervalued shares, you begin to earn solid returns.
In the Form 13-F that Berkshire filed in February, we learned that Buffett has added to his stake in Burlington Northern Santa Fe (NYSE: BNI