Warren Buffett claims that owning the S&P 500 index through a low-cost index fund will deliver about the same results as if he chose the stocks, “and maybe slightly better.” This according to a recent article in MarketWatch.
“I think it’s the best investment because more people don’t know how to pick stocks. And—most of the time I don’t know how to pick stocks,” Buffett said.
But, according to the article, the problem isn’t with Buffett or a dip in his prowess. “The problem is that the whole stock market has changed,” it argues, citing comments from famed investor and author Charley Ellis regarding the difficulties in finding bargains. According to Ellis, things were much different before the advent of the internet, when it was tougher to get up-to-the-minute information on the inner workings of companies. Now everyone has access to the same information, he says, and when you add to the mix the federal regulation of company information “you have a system that makes it very difficult to find relative bargains.”
The article concludes that Buffett is “as usual, totally right” and that “few secrets stay secret in the modern stock exchanges.” Owning the market, it says, is the best way to go, adding that “the best way to add extra return is to avoid making big investment mistakes.”