Buy American. I am.

美國和海外的金融市場一團糟,金融問題已殃及經濟。短期內,失業率將上揚,商業景氣
轉弱,報紙頭條仍會怵目驚心。所以,我已不斷買進美股,是用自己的帳戶。以前除美國
公債外,我沒有別的投資。(這不包括我在波克夏公司的持股,那已預定捐出來做公益。
)如果價錢仍具吸引力,我波克夏以外的資產很快會全部轉成美股。

為什麼?有個簡單的買進規則:別人貪婪時應恐懼,別人恐懼時應貪婪。現在瀰漫的是恐
懼感,即使投資老手也逃不過。投資人提防借貸比率過高或競爭力弱的企業是對的,但對
許多體質健全公司的長期展望憂心忡忡卻沒道理。這些企業的獲利偶爾會打嗝,但多數大
公司會在五年、十年或二十年後締造新的獲利紀錄。

有一點要說清楚:我無法預測股市的短期走勢,不知一個月或一年後股價會漲或跌。然而
,行情可能在市場信心轉強或經濟改觀前就走高,也許漲幅可觀。你若要等知更鳥啼鳴,
春天可能已結束。

來談一點歷史:大蕭條期間,道瓊指數在1932年7月8日跌到41點的谷底。但經濟持續惡化
到羅斯福1933年3月就任總統時。不過在此之前,股市已勁揚30%。又如第二次世界大戰初
期,美國在歐洲及太平洋戰事皆不利,但股市在1942年4月觸底,比盟軍時來運轉早得多
。再者,1980年代初,買股好時機是通膨肆虐而經濟重挫之時。簡言之,壞消息是投資人
最好的朋友,讓你可用低價投資一小塊美國的未來。

長期來說,股市新聞會變好。在20世紀,美國歷經過兩次世界大戰和其他代價慘重的軍事
衝突,以及大蕭條、十幾次衰退和金融恐慌,還有幾次石油危機、一波大流感,及總統丟
人現眼後辭職下台。但道瓊指數照樣從66點漲至11,497點。

你可能以為,20世紀漲幅這麼大,幾乎不可能賠錢,但就是有些人虧錢。這些倒楣人只在
覺得放心時買股票,一瞥見令人不安的新聞就賣出。今天,手中持有現金及約當現金的人
覺得心安,其實不該如此。他們選擇了可怕的長期資產,幾乎不生財且注定會貶值。沒錯
,政府為緩解危機而採行的政策勢必引發通膨,進而加速現金帳戶的實際價值下滑。

股票未來十年的表現勢必勝過現金。現在緊抱現金的投資人,是賭他們稍後可算準時機再
進場買進。在等待好消息時,他們忽視冰上曲棍球巨星葛瑞斯基(Wayne Gretzky)的建
言:「溜冰時要滑向曲棍球餅預料會到的地方,而不是現在的位置。」

我不喜歡對股市發表意見,容我再次強調,我不知市場短期走向。然而,我會仿效一家餐
廳的作法,這家餐廳在空盪盪的銀行大樓開業,廣告標語說:「錢放哪裡,就在哪裡吃。
」今天,我的錢和我的嘴都嚷著要「股票」。

==

Buy American. I am.

By Warren E. Buffett

The financial world is a mess, both in the United States and abroad. Its
problems, moreover, have been leaking into the general economy, and the leaks
are now turning into a gusher. In the near term, unemployment will rise,
business activity will falter and headlines will continue to be scary.

So ... I’ve been buying American stocks. This is my personal account I’m
talking about, in which I previously owned nothing but United States
government bonds. (This description leaves aside my Berkshire Hathaway
holdings, which are all committed to philanthropy.) If prices keep looking
attractive, my non-Berkshire net worth will soon be 100 percent in United
States equities.

Why?

A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be
greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, fear is now widespread,
gripping even seasoned investors. To be sure, investors are right to be wary
of highly leveraged entities or businesses in weak competitive positions. But
fears regarding the long-term prosperity of the nation’s many sound
companies make no sense. These businesses will indeed suffer earnings
hiccups, as they always have. But most major companies will be setting new
profit records 5, 10 and 20 years from now.

Let me be clear on one point: I can’t predict the short-term movements of
the stock market. I haven’t the faintest idea as to whether stocks will be
higher or lower a month — or a year — from now. What is likely, however, is
that the market will move higher, perhaps substantially so, well before
either sentiment or the economy turns up. So if you wait for the robins,
spring will be over.

A little history here: During the Depression, the Dow hit its low, 41, on
July 8, 1932. Economic conditions, though, kept deteriorating until Franklin
D. Roosevelt took office in March 1933. By that time, the market had already
advanced 30 percent. Or think back to the early days of World War II, when
things were going badly for the United States in Europe and the Pacific. The
market hit bottom in April 1942, well before Allied fortunes turned. Again,
in the early 1980s, the time to buy stocks was when inflation raged and the
economy was in the tank. In short, bad news is an investor’s best friend. It
lets you buy a slice of America’s future at a marked-down price.

Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. In the 20th century,
the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive
military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial
panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced
president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497.

You might think it would have been impossible for an investor to lose money
during a century marked by such an extraordinary gain. But some investors
did. The hapless ones bought stocks only when they felt comfort in doing so
and then proceeded to sell when the headlines made them queasy.

Today people who hold cash equivalents feel comfortable. They shouldn’t.
They have opted for a terrible long-term asset, one that pays virtually
nothing and is certain to depreciate in value. Indeed, the policies that
government will follow in its efforts to alleviate the current crisis will
probably prove inflationary and therefore accelerate declines in the real
value of cash accounts.

Equities will almost certainly outperform cash over the next decade, probably
by a substantial degree. Those investors who cling now to cash are betting
they can efficiently time their move away from it later. In waiting for the
comfort of good news, they are ignoring Wayne Gretzky’s advice: “I skate to
where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”

I don’t like to opine on the stock market, and again I emphasize that I have
no idea what the market will do in the short term. Nevertheless, I’ll follow
the lead of a restaurant that opened in an empty bank building and then
advertised: “Put your mouth where your money was.” Today my money and my
mouth both say equities.

Warren E. Buffett is the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, a diversified
holding company.

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