Light on tech, heavy on banks – has Warren Buffett lost his touch?

Too big. Too slow. Too old-fashioned. Criticism mounts after Berkshire Hathway’s bad run

When the When the Financial Times interviewed Warren Buffett last year, he predicted that future returns from his company Berkshire Hathaway and from the US stock market as a whole would be “very close to the same”. Berkshire shareholders could be forgiven for thinking: if only.

The famed stockpicker had his worst performance versus the S&P 500 in a decade in 2019, and 2020 is shaping up to be nearly as bad. Instead of taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis that hit markets in March, Mr Buffett was a casualty. 

Instead of highlighting Berkshire’s balance sheet strength, the crisis exacerbated longstanding concerns over the company’s direction. Some longtime Buffett watchers argue that it is time to fundamentally rethink Berkshire’s mix of business and investments. 

The question comes more loudly now than at any time since Berkshire missed out on the dotcom boom: has Mr Buffett lost his touch? 

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