Long ago, Ben Graham taught me that “price is what you pay ; value is what you get.” Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.

Berkshire’s ownership interest in all four companies is likely to increase in the future. Mae West had it right : “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”

A truly great business must have an enduring “moat” that protects excellent returns on invested capital. Business history is filled with “Roman candles,” companies whose moats prove illusory and were soon crossed.

If you are not going to be an active investor – and very few should try to do that – then they should just stay with index funds. Any low-cost index funds. And they should buy it over time. They’re not going to be able to pick the right price and the right time. What they want to do is avoid the wrong price and the wrong stock. You just make sure you own a piece of American business, and you don’t buy all at one time.

People who buy [stocks] for non-value reasons are likely to sell for non-value reasons. Their presence in the picture will accentuate erratic price swings unrelated to underlying business developments.