David Fleer
Bristlecone Value Partners, LLC
12301 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 320
Los Angeles, CA 90025 USA
Work 1-877-806-4141

Berkshire Hathaway: In Praise of Synthetic Leverage

March 22nd, 2017

“Life is like a snowball. The important thing is finding wet snow and a really long hill.”

–Warren Buffett

A few weeks ago, Warren Buffett published his annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway–one which we read with interest each year.  The letter’s opening page contains a performance table tracking the annual percentage change in Berkshire’s per-share book value, compared to the return of the S&P 500 Index. By this very basic performance measure, Mr. Buffett’s track record is remarkable, outpacing the S&P 500 by an average of 9.3% per year over the past 52 years!   Read the rest of this entry »


4th Quarter Review: American (equities) First

January 26th, 2017

U.S. equity markets pushed broadly higher in Q4 and for calendar 2016, boosted by investor optimism that President-elect Trump’s administration will usher in a wave of business-friendly initiatives including reduced government regulation and lower corporate tax rates. For the first time in 17 years, all three headline domestic indexes (Dow 30, S&P 500, and Nasdaq), finished the year at simultaneous record highs. In a reversal from last year, the strongest returns in 2016 came from Small Cap and Value stocks, as summarized in this heat map of US fund category returns from Morningstar: Read the rest of this entry »


Trumpenomics and Your Portfolio

December 13th, 2016

With just a couple weeks left to the year, we naturally ponder the main events of 2016 and how they might shape 2017. We try to abstain from political commentary and limit our opinions (here anyway!) to potential investment consequences from policy decisions.  Although we don’t always succeed, we make every effort not to color our statements with our own political beliefs.

This year, it is admittedly hard to ignore the elephant in the room: Donald Trump’s election has so far been a game changer at many levels, political, diplomatic, etc. It has also had a dramatic impact on markets around the world: currencies, commodities, bonds and equity securities have all been affected. Read the rest of this entry »


Pundits “Punk’d”

November 16th, 2016

Broadly speaking, the past week made fools of professional forecasters.  Heading into the November 8th election, Hillary Clinton was the consensus favorite to win the presidency, with most polls pegging her chances at greater than 65%.  However, notwithstanding her slim victory in the nationwide popular vote, Clinton’s loss of several traditionally Democratic states in the upper Midwest gave Donald Trump the electoral votes needed to pull off a stunning upset.

Initially, overseas and futures markets reacted negatively to this surprising turn of events (overnight, the S&P 500 futures declined as much as 5%).  Most investors (ourselves included) braced for a wave of panic selling when equity markets re-opened last Wednesday.  Instead, stocks rallied, bonds fell, and speculators scrambled to place bets on the prospective winners and losers of a Trump administration.  Read the rest of this entry »

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