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Daily Reading - Newspapers


Guest jeffswaldron
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Good day,

 

I attempted a search to see if there was a discussion on this topic, but didn't find anything, so I apologize in advance for my incompetence.

 

I often think about how Warren/Charlie/Todd spend so much time reading newspapers and try to start this habit myself -- it lasts about a week and I end up with stacks of newspapers that never get read.  What value do they get out of this habit?  Would they be successful if they never read a newspaper? Should I continue to my attempt to make this a habit?  How do they remain so detached and level headed?  Any thoughts on this are greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you

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This topic comes up every now and then. People pay attention to what Buffett, T&T say, but don't really get what they do. If you're going to read a newspaper or 10-k cover to cover just for the sake of reading it, it's just wasted time and effort on your part. The point is that you need to know what to look at, at least with SEC filings. So out of those 200 pages in a 10-k, know what to look at and know what to skip over. Same with the newspaper. I highly doubt Warren reads the Lifestyle or Personal Journal section cover to cover. Or even all the political crap. But all that stuff is kind of obvious IMO. There's no way any human being can literally read 5 entire newspapers along with all the other stuff on a daily basis.

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I can skim a 10-k no problem and understand the value of it, but never when it comes to the newspapers.  I really think Buffett reads all 5 papers with the exception of Lifestyle or Personal Journal sections.  I am skeptical this provides a benefit to his investing and think it's more of a past time for him. 

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Hey all:

 

When I first got started and was in undergraduate studies...one of the habits that I got into was going to the school library 4 or 5 nights a week to do my coursework.

 

The first thing I would do is gather the Wall Street Journal, Barrons, Value Line, Fortune, Forbes, and one or two other magazines that might catch my interest.  Then I would find a good spot, read one thing.  Then start studying for about 30 minutes or so...then read one other publication...then study another 30 minutes...and so on.

 

If I found anything particularly interesting, I would check out the company financials in Value Line.

 

Sometimes I would spend less than 5 minutes on a magazine if there was nothing interesting in it, sometimes 20-30 minutes.

 

Of course, this was at the dawn of the internet.

 

I think I learned a lot doing that...maybe I need to find a library and go back to that routine!

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The thing about newspapers, especially national publications, is many of the stories are the same or follow-ups from ongoing sagas.  Thus you can skim through each paper pretty quickly because there is a lot of over-lap.  I think Mephistopheles is right on.  Buffett and those guys know what is important and what can be dismissed very quickly. 

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Recap from past threads: I read Barron's cover to cover. I think WSJ is mostly useless or at least hugely overrated. Every time I've read it (in airplane or hotel for free), I've never seen anything useful. I have subscribed to WP and NYT this year (yes, because of ... ). Might renew or not. I don't read them, but click articles referenced in CoBF/friends' FB postings/Google news.

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I am sure tenured users have no interest in this topic by now, but I appreciate the responses. 

 

I think my takeaway is Charlie and Warren have exceptional filters and do not get caught up in the day-to-day noise.  For someone like myself, reading the daily publications will have a negative impact on my investing because I do not have their intellectual ability to remain objective and pick out what is useful.  It will probably just cause me to act emotionally and be overconfident in my ability to understand the business environment.

 

On a side note, I have about 350 days of Wash post(print) left because my trial expired and they hooked me.  Happy to change the address to someone who actually wants to read it (edit: didn't think that comment through).

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I read lots of newspapers and I think it does help me with investing (hard to say exactly how). :-) I read the Globe and Mail, New York Times and some others depending on what is going on (Der Spiegel English edition). For US economics I read Calculated Risk blog etc.

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for the last 6 years I have maintained the habit of reading an economics and business newspaper (the online edition). I skim through the titles and read everything I find interesting. Results:

1- I am always up to date with how the economics is doing

2- Ocasionally I find an interesting idea there (reading through loads of annual reports and fillings would have had a similar result). Examples

a) At the start of this habit I found the news about a business annual result, a company I had never heard about. On the coments there was a single coment where someone said: best dividend yield around. Checked it (read the annual report): quoting at 2.x times earnings at the time (highly iliquid, to get in I had to pay up to almost 3 times earnings). I made only 20%(maybe 30% with dividends?) (pre tax) on it but it went on to be a 15 bagger (about a 20 bagger from the too iliquid starting price)

b) a few months ago I read about an aquisition. Found it interesting, never had heard about it, took me a month to sell over 40% of my potfolio to get in, got out at a 35% (pre tax) gain in less than two months (average holding period a little over a month)

 

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