There isn’t one foreign friend of ours – from inside or outside the investment community – that hasn’t asked us “the Petrobras question(s)”. We are sorry to say that we don’t have an answer and probably never will. Call us superstitious, but state-owned companies have a knack for causing the occasional investment disaster. We put them in the “too conflicted” box and move on. In the meantime, we point to Prof. Aswath Damodaran’s musings on Petrobras.
Not even oil is sacred in Brazil, it seems. In Petrobras it’s mostly about government intervention, in OGX – down a whopping 27% today – it’s mostly about terrible expectations management. This post is by no means an evaluation of either stocks’ prospects and attractiveness as investments. The only point is that there’s maybe a lesson here about optimistic expectations: taking with lots of salt not only what emanates from the companies, but also how much you can really know about factors such as political risk, a certain local amateurism in expectations management and so on.
Much noise has been generated by MidAmerican’s purchase of First Solar’s $2 billion Topaz solar energy project. Yes, MidAmerican is Berkshire’s utility/ energy subsidiary and this sizable acquisition has certainly been cleared by Warren Buffett. That does not mean that “Buffett is buying/ betting on solar” as a category. It is Berkshire taking advantage of an opportunity.
Well, this is unusual – Warren Buffett and Jay-Z (not a typo, the rapper) together in an interview about success (videos inside). Buffett apparently really likes rap, judging by the GEICO commercial of a few years ago. Then this September 13th video is a more conventional talk by Charlie Munger at the University of Michigan. It’s almost two hours long and nothing terribly new for those who read up about him, but always nice. The CNBC “host” focused a bit too much on economics and politics, but Mr. Munger still shines.
Brazil was featured in the press in the last week – twice in articles in foreign newspapers and once in a Brazilian newspaper interviewing Paul Krugman. Even though each article can be called out for factual mistakes or simply cluelessness regarding our country, collectively they should help temper expectations about Brazil’s growth or attractiveness.