Best of the Fool

Thursday, May 27, 1999

The following article originally ran as a Fool Portfolio (now the Rule Breaker)
report on August 21, 1997.

The Warr-enquirer

by Tom Gardner (TomG@fool.com)

An increasingly common market moving phenomenon was reported by Reuters News Services this evening. Their market-coverage report read:

A small shiver also went through the markets in the afternoon amid potentially inaccurate reports that Warren Buffett -- the billionaire investor known for his buy- and-hold approach, may have liquidated some of his holdings -- which some investors may have seen as a bearish signal.
(In the spirit of "Where's Waldo?" can you find the grammatical mistake in the paragraph above?)

Given that few of the recent rumors about Mr. Buffett -- liquidating long-term positions, purchasing Nike in advance of their earnings report, giving birth to a three-headed gorgon (I just launched that one) -- have proven true, yet given how much money they've "moved," The Fool today formally pre-announces its intention to publish a daily tabloid entitled "The Warren Enquirer (WE)."

In it, we'll feature coverage of every Buffett thought, word and gesture that we can dig up. We'll employ Enquiring Fools to track him at local Nebraskan steakhouses, to follow his interactions with Omaha Royals' spunky mascot, Casey, and to sleep on his roof if need be. And we'll draw intelligent conclusions from every data point.

Is Warren still eating oatmeal and bananas for breakfast? Was his evening walk longer or shorter than normal and why did he stroll the banks of the Missouri? How is the baby gorgon doing? And what does it all mean for the value of Coca-Cola's business in the Philippines, or for the price of sorghum in Pecos Valley, or for the fair multiple of the S&P 500?

The Warren Enquirer will give you the skinny on what's happening with "The Man" and why. The tabloid will also feature a careful review of his daily horoscope. Check out what happened today. Buffett was born on August 30th, which makes him a Virgo. At AOL keyword: Astronet, here's the Virgo report for August 21, 1997:

VIRGO (August 23-September 22) New circumstances make the family more conscious of finances now. A need to trim expenses and make wiser choices comes along.

Ladies and gentlemen, on Wall Street, that's called a sell report (and check the use of the word "wise"). Don't underrate the advance notice that Ouija boards, phrenological readings, magic cards, salt scattering and The Warren Enquirer can have on your savings account. A smidgen of Madame Blavatsky here and there, and you'll be slamming past market returns with consistency.

Once it's released in very early April of 1998, The Warren Enquirer will get you out of stocks at market open on mornings like these. How important is that? Well, all of your savings money would've turned over at 9:40 a.m. today. With the Dow trading at 8015 then, you'd be more than one percentage point richer this evening.

If you don't think that's consequential, consider that 1% of compounded daily growth generates over 600% returns per year. Them's are some bucks! You figure that one hundred sound astrological calls, some unverifiable gossip about Warren's daily doings, and an update on the status of that gorgon bantling might double your money every few months.

So forget all those pricey seminars. Unlearn the investment principles that prize long-term growth. After all, Fools, in the long-term, you're not here. You won't have access to your discount-brokerage account in 2092, right? So bag all that nonsense about patience and learning. And instead, pick up a lifetime subscription to The Warren Enquirer. Witness every breath he takes, follow every move he makes, and stay ten steps ahead of The Street.

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