Catching up on an assortment of shorter items:
For Buffettologists the Wall Street Journal has two articles of interest. Both touch on the fact that Buffett and his methodology are advancing in age. The first by Susan Pulliam and Karen Richardson is a profile of Warren Buffett. It has a day in the life feel. Not too much of interest, but for fans of Buffett it does insights, including Buffett’s five tips for individual investors. The underlying question, as always, is whether any one can fill Buffett’s shoes? The second article by Karen Richardson is a profile of the specialist on the NYSE for Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa) stock. Like Buffett, James J. Maguire Sr. like Buffett is in his seventies, and a bit of a throwback. Buffett and Maguire seem like a well-matched pair, and still have something to say in an increasingly electronic investment world.
Sonya Morris in Morningstar.com notes the relatively poor returns individual investors have generated in index funds. Not because the funds themselves poorly track the indices, but because of the poor timing investors have had putting money into the funds. This dollar-weighted return is another piece of evidence showing our tendency to buy high and sell low.
The relatively muted returns for the stock market in 2005 should not be much of a surprise to someone familiar with the Presidential Election Cycle. Marshall D. Nickles writing in the Graziado Business Report of Pepperdine University demonstrates that the first two years of a presidential term are poor relative to the following two years. This is yet another seasonal tendency which investors should monitor.
Daniel Gross in Slate.com adds another obscure economic indicator to his growing list. This time it is copper. Because of its use throughout the economy, copper is a reasonable proxy for economic growth. At the moment it is still showing a relatively robust, world economy.