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In tough times, Warren Buffett keeps investing big

Berkshire Hathaway billionaire Warren Buffett

Jeremy Hobson: Well as Europe's debt crisis sent global markets on a roller coaster ride in recent months, many investors just got out of the way so they wouldn't lose their money. Not Warren Buffett -- his company, Berkshire Hathaway says it invested almost $24 billion last quarter. That was the most in at least 15 years.

Marketplace's David Gura reports.


David Gura: Warren Buffet is what's called a "value investor." Jim Angel teaches finance at Georgetown.

Jim Angel: He likes to buy companies that have a strong franchise, or what the strategy types would call a "sustainable competitive advantage."

Translation: companies that don't face much competition. Last quarter he bought a big stake in Mastercard; he owns a lot of Coca-Cola stock; Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. Angel says Buffett is really good at buying low.

Angel: He made a big bet on Bank of America.

A $5 billion bet, back in August. The financial firm is still struggling and we'll see what happens to it. But Angel says that epitomizes Buffett's investment strategy, which is pretty basic:

Angel: Hm. They need money. They're cheap. I'll buy some.

Buffet doesn't always bat a thousand -- who does? But the 81-year-old investor has a really good track record.

In Washington, I'm David Gura, for Marketplace.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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