2012 shareholder letter from Warren Buffett  MAR 05 2013

Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett recently released his annual letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway for the 2012 fiscal year. In his estimation, Berkshire didn't have such a good year.

When the partnership I ran took control of Berkshire in 1965, I could never have dreamed that a year in which we had a gain of $24.1 billion would be subpar, in terms of the comparison we present on the facing page.

But subpar it was. For the ninth time in 48 years, Berkshire's percentage increase in book value was less than the S&P's percentage gain (a calculation that includes dividends as well as price appreciation). In eight of those nine years, it should be noted, the S&P had a gain of 15% or more. We do better when the wind is in our face.

Perhaps with Anne Hathaway's Oscar win in February, they'll have a better year this year.

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