Reassuring to learn that even the Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett occasionally( very occasionally) gets it wrong. Back in 1993: he paid $433 million for a shoe company named Dexter Shoes. Quickly he realised that he had bought a dud as its shoe product was being undercut by cheap foreign imports. By then he had issued shares in Berkshire Hathaway to cover the purchase. 1.6% of the shares. Today those shares would be worth $8.7 Billion! And Dexter? Went into liquidation with BH losing everything. Now THAT’s an expensive shoe purchase!
Meaning the meadows in Spanish, Las Vegas had a population of 8,000 in 1940 and was best known as a major railroad junction. Following successively nuclear testing in the nearby desert in Nye County and then the establishment of Las Vegas as an entertainment centre, the population has grown to 700,000 today but dormitory towns have sprung up nearby and now the greater Las Vegas area has over 2 million inhabitants. More than 40 million visitors travel to Las Vegas each year. That has placed an intolerable strain on the water supply and multi billion dollar investments are being made in pipelines to pump water into the city with demand having increased by 1.2 billion gallons per year over the past 5 years.
Expect some lively days ahead. Following Greta Thunberg leading 10,000 demonstrators in Lausanne on Friday and launching the FridaysforFuture movement, she is now in Davos. On the way there she was quoted as saying: “It is time to abolish billionaires; we cannot afford billionaires.” For the 119 billionaires jetting in to to the Swiss talkfest, this is not the kind of talk that they appreciate- normally it’s more a case of “Your black Amex will do nicely!” Some of those billionaire attendees from Russia and India which are the most numerous after the USA and China have made their money the hard way and or by using tough tactics, so do not expect them to roll over for Greta on that one!
N.B. #FridaysforFuture is a call to students to not attend school on Fridays. SGM-FX’s wannabe climate activist, Euan has queried whether we recognise this movement and will allow him to show solidarity with the students on Friday’s. SGM-FX is of course an equal opportunity employer, but ……..just not that equal, Euan!
Discussion and Analysis by Humphrey Percy, Chairman and Founder