Warren Buffett News: Who’s In? Who’s Not?

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAYGates and Buffett’s Giving Pledge: Who’s In? Who’s Not? (CNBC)
Bankers and financiers are not exactly the most popular members of our society these days. By contrast, young tech tycoons seem to be enjoying their moment as America’s economic heroes. The Giving Pledge, launched by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates in 2010, has 81 billionaire signers so far, each of whom have pledged to give away at least half of their wealth. “The average age in this group is trending higher, more toward seniors,” said Bradford Smith, president of the Foundation Center, which has launched “Eye on the Giving Pledge” to research and analyze pledge givers and their causes. “Banking and finance is the most common industry where they made their wealth.”

Why Warren Buffett Just Hit the Eject Button on Consumer Stocks (DailyFinance)
On Sept. 16, 2009, Warren Buffett declared the Great Recession officially over. But is it still over? In an interview on CNBC back then, the world’s most famous super-investor argued that because the economy had “plateaued at the bottom” and could only go up from there, he was once again buying stocks — and “getting a lot for [his] money.” Obediently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average then proceeded to climb 36% over the next three years. Unfortunately, times change, economies wane … and it seems Buffett may have had a change of heart.

How to strike it rich by investing against the herd like Warren Buffett: The personality test and tips for contrarian investing (ThisIsMoney)
The great money-making investors are not afraid of making big calls against common wisdom – famously Warren Buffett turned a handsome profit from buying into Goldman Sachs at the height of the financial crisis and now he has left commentators scratching their heads by buying into local newspapers. But while anyone can invest wildly against crowd wisdom, but that won’t make them a billionaire like Warren Buffett. What does it take to be a successful contrarian investor? And if you think you’re made of the right stuff, how do you go about finding promising investment opportunities?

Refiners Awash In Shale Oil Offer 10 Times Exxon Returns (Bloomberg)
Gasoline refiners, shunned by investors because of falling demand and rising regulation, now count Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and billionaire Carl Icahn among shareholders as lower oil prices promise wider returns for fuel makers. U.S. refiners such as Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) have delivered 10 times the returns of Exxon Mobil Corp., gaining an average 43 percent to Exxon’s 4.2 percent and outperforming every other energy sector in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Gushing shale wells from North Dakota to the U.S.-Mexico border have lowered costs and more than doubled profit margins on gasoline and diesel production.

Buffett’s Berkshire Is No Longer a ‘Best Idea’ (TheStreet)
Fairholme Funds, the $7.5 billion mutual fund complex run by Bruce Berkowitz, liquidated its holdings of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway(BRK.A_), while reducing stakes in American International Group(AIG_), CIT Group(CIT_) and Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp.(OSH_), according to Fairholme’s latest semi-annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday. “Fund share redemptions have forced the Funds to raise liquidity. Rather than selling across the board, we have learned not to sell our best ideas,” Berkowitz wrote in a modified version of the report posted on Fairholme’s website.

What Entrepreneurs Need To Know About Their Brains (HuffingtonPost)
Are you more like Howard Schultz of Starbucks, the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Richard Branson of Virgin, or Tony Hsieh of Zappos? Knowing the answer could help you become more successful in your business. Being aware of how your brain works can help you make better decisions as an entrepreneur, contend the authors of a new book, Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012). Business veterans Tony Tjan, Dick Harrington, and Tsun-yan Hsieh interviewed and researched more than 500 business leaders from young, upstart entrepreneurs to experienced CEOs and identified four character traits that define a business leaders’ decision-making process.

European Stocks Turn Around as Telecoms Lead Direction (MSNBC)
European equity markets have seen a full turnaround this morning, buoyed at the open by potentially positive news from China, then turning around before the U.S. open to sink well into negative territory. The drop came as U.S. futures declined due to some weaker-than-expected earnings results, while the telecommunications sectors in Europe saw sharp selling pressure following mildly negative news from some large names. …As always, this morning’s European news saw some winners and losers — and perhaps some European buying opportunities. Indeed, legendary investor Warren Buffett has recently spent more than $1 billion buying the stock of a prominent European large cap. If you want to know why Buffett has bought into Europe, this special Motley Fool report — “The One European Share Warren Buffett Loves” — reveals everything, including the price he paid. You can download the report today for free, but hurry — the report is available for a limited time only.

Ben Graham bargains: A 10-stock value portfolio (MSN)
Known as the Father of Value Investing, Benjamin Graham inspired Mario Gabelli, John Neff, John Templeton and, most famously, Warren Buffett. All were Graham disciples who went on to their own stock market greatness. Born in England in 1894, Graham built his reputation — and fortune — by using an extremely conservative, low-risk approach to investing. To Graham, an investment wasn’t something that could be turned into quick, easy profits. Anything that offers “easy” rewards also comes with substantial risk — and Graham abhorred risk.