Buffett to Disclose More on Derivatives; Tilson Ups Berkshire Stake

Warren Buffett says he will give more information on Berkshire Hathaway’s much discussed derivative bets in the company’s end-of-year-report, Reuters is reporting. The derivatives contracts call for the firm to pay out billions to purchasers if, by certain dates starting in 2019, four different market indices fall below agreed-upon levels. Rumors that Berkshire’s liabilities for the contracts could be more than previously thought caused the firm’s stock to plunge — and its credit default swap… Read More

Hulbert: Small-Cap Value Stocks May Be Ripe for Impressive Gains

Small-cap value stocks are risky but they also historically produce jaw-dropping gains at the begining of bull markets, Mark Hulbert writes in the New York Times. Referencing academic research performed by professors Eugene Fama (University of Chicago) and Kenneth French (Dartmouth), Hulbert writes that small-cap value stocks (stocks with the lowest price/book ratios) “gained 17.1 percent, on average, in the first three months following the 13 market bottoms since 1969, equivalent to an annualized rate… Read More

Schwab CIO: Bounce Will Be Big — Don’t Miss It

Jeff Mortimer, chief investment officer of Charles Schwab’s mutual fund division, tells Fortune that the coming turnaround in the stock market will be a big one, and that investors should be building their positions now. Mortimer says that 47 percent of bull market gains usually come in the first 12 months, before many investors have summoned the courage to dive back into the market. Be aware that he doesn’t think we’re out of the woods… Read More

Is Buffett Market Timing?

Warren Buffett stated in his recent New York Times Op-Ed that he had begun buying U.S. stocks for his personal portfolio, in which he previously held only Treasuries. Does that make him a market timer of sorts? Morningstar’s John Coumarianos offers some interesting thoughts on that question, focusing his answer on the difference between value investors, like Buffett, and market timers or traders. Value investors, like Mr. Buffett and others, look at investing as buying… Read More

Every Stock Fund In Red for 2008

A sign of how tough the market has been this year: Through November 24, every long stock fund tracked by Morningstar — that’s right, every single long stock fund — had lost ground in 2008. That includes 10,085 U.S. funds (which, on average, had lost 44.47 percent) and 2,912 international funds (which had lost an average of 51.01 percent). The best U.S. performer: Embarcadero Alternative Strategies, which was down 1.55 percent. That was far better… Read More

Stocks “Reasonably Cheap” for First Time Since 1980s, Says Grantham

Jeremy Grantham, one of the few who saw the current credit crisis coming, provides some thoughtful comments on the crisis, asset bubbles, the stock market’s current valuation and how individual investors might consider looking at the equity markets right now. Speaking with Consuelo Mack on WealthTrack, Grantham (co-founder and chairman of GMO LLC), who has been bearish on the stock market for some time, says that for the first time in over two decades stocks… Read More

Tilson, Heins See Upside

In Kiplinger’s Discovering Value column, Whitney Tilson and John Heins say there are two silver linings that have emerged from the market turmoil. The first is that the unprecedented market volatility might be the signal of a stock market bottom, and once that bottom is reached the market could generate some impressive gains. The second positive is that the downturn in the market has created some excellent long-term buying opportunities, and the columnists/money managers like… Read More

Buffett: Unemployment to Get “Considerably Higher”

Warren Buffett tells Fox Business that he expects American job losses will continue to mount well into next year, and that unemployment will be well above the 6-6.5% range by mid-2009. “It’ll be considerably higher. … I wish it weren’t the case, but there is no way to change a negative feedback cycle like we’re in now in a month or two months.” Echoing the long-term optimism he showed in his much discussed Oct. 17… Read More

New S&P Study: Most Fund Managers Fail to Beat Market

Add a new piece of evidence to the notion that most active fund managers fail to beat their benchmark indices over the long haul: According to recently released data from Standard & Poor’s, over the five years ending June 2008, the S&P 500 outperformed 68.6% of actively managed large cap funds; the S&P MidCap 400 outperformed 75.9% of mid-cap funds; and the S&P SmallCap 600 outperformed 77.8% of small cap funds. The data comes from… Read More

Painful Stretch Even for The Greats

No one beats the market all the time — not even the best investors in history — and this difficult bear market has been a perfect example. Yahoo Tech Ticker’s Aaron Task reports that many investors with exceptional long-term track records have (along with just about everyone else) been hit hard. A look at some top money managers’ year-to-date performances: * Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway): -43% * Ken Heebner (CMG Focus Fund) -56% * Harry… Read More