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Tuesday, October 24, 2006 9:00 AM
Warren Buffett, Former Has-Been
Kevin Salwen on Money

Let's roll the Way-Back Machine to 2001, those many many years ago, when tech was king and the rest of us were stupid. Especially that Buffett guy. What a doofus -- still investing in brick and mortar, still buying traditional businesses, and of course badly trailing the technology-stock fueled market indexes.

The Oracle of Omaha was showing the world how out of step he was, still investing his Berkshire-Hathaway resources in things people ate (Dairy Queen, Coca-Cola), read (Washington Post, Newsweek), wear (Fruit of the Loom, Russell Athletic) and just generally need (Geico Insurance). And the stock market punished Berkshire, with its stock lagging during the bubble years.

Well, on Monday, Berkshire-Hathaway shares became the first stock to hit $100,000 a share. You read that right. $100k a share. That is 2 1/2 times the share price in March 2000; the Nasdaq is down 53% since then, if you're keeping score. And of course Buffett's strategy of refusing to split the stock clearly isn't hurting the company, despite limiting investor access. (Buffett, btw, owns 38% of the common in Berkshire.)

In 1985, when I was writing the Heard on the Street column for the Wall Street Journal, a friend recommended I buy Berkshire Hathaway shares, as she had a few months earlier. I laughed out loud, citing the $1,500 share price. More than a thousand dollars each, I protested.

Wish I could use the Way Back Machine for that decision.


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