Hot Links: Berkshire, UBS and the Microsoft Store


Hot Links for Weekend Reading

Warren Buffett has had a tough year so far and an especially tough week.  The Bespoke Investment Group shows us the ugly year-to-date evidenceBerkshire Hathaway common stock was demolished during a week that saw many of Buffett’s largest stock holdings plummet, for example Wells Fargo and US Bancorp.  On top of that, his 13F filing had many Buffett-watchers scratching their heads at some of his portfolio moves during the last quarter, including his disclosures that he had sold big chunks of Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and ConocoPhillips (we thought these were “forever” holdings).  His holdings overall declined from $70 billion around $50 billion from the 3rd to the 4th quarter.  For an illustrative chart on Berkshire’s ugly year-to-date, check out the Notorious B.I.G.‘s chart:  Bespoke Investment Group on BRK

Swashbuckling securities law attorney and commentator Bill Singer posted his thoughts on the UBS tax evasion scheme on his excellent Broke and Broker Blog this week.  He is incredulous at the lack of punishment being doled out by regulators and the lack of contrition from the Swiss banking giant.  In my opinion, of course nothing will happen to UBS!  They will be fined a large enough dollar figure for window dressing purposes, but an amount that ultimately makes the corporate insiders giggle, and then it’s back to business as usual.  If this was a small or mid-size firm without international political clout, forget about it, the owners and principles would be in a stockade.  The lesson, kids, is to steal big, whether that’s what they mean to get across or not.  Trust me, UBS could’ve knocked over Fort Knox and been given a pass.

Finally, two things that made me laugh this week:

PC World has a list of 10 Ways Microsoft’s Retail Stores Will Differ From Apple Stores.  My fave was:

4) The Windows Genuine Advantage team will run storefront security, assuming everybody is a thief until they can prove otherwise.

I also loved Wall Street Jackass‘s Why the Market is Having Trouble, which was basically a laundry list of prominent companies whose products cost more than a share of their stock prices:

2.    The Citi ATM fee costs more than Citigroup stock