Buffett admits some Berkshire derivatives will lose money

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by Daal, May 5, 2009.

  1. Daal


  2. Yeah, and he did it <800 on SPX.
  3. I'd imagine that among its many insurance holdings BRK has much greater potential blackholes than its equity-puts position -- but to fully appreciate their subtleties would require a deep understanding of the insurance business -- which is not a typical e'trader skillset -- hence the preponderance of chatter about the equity puts.
  4. Well, the reinsurance business isn't exactly protein-folding, and more to the point, it's what was made public in the AR. Recall that Buffett won't be involved in anything that requires a calculator. What a monumental hypocritical POS to even think it, let alone offering that pile of self-deprecating "regular guy" BS to the shareholders and the press. He's either incompetent for not knowing or a liar for stating otherwise.

    AFAIK, he is not mark to market on the ~1500-strike binary put loss. He sold a ~50/100 put marked to 95 and "no comment". There isn't any variation margin on the position, but the loss is in the billions.

    But yeah, I would assume it's the tip of the iceberg, but the insurance contracts are not exactly line-item on the AR.
  5. Exactly. If you were Buffett and you had a hornet's nest of potential liabilities, wouldn't you be pleased to have the media (and the media-driven, media-regurgitating chatroom crowd) focused on the puts, which might be among the smaller and better-contained of your risks?
  6. Corelio


    The puts are just the tip of the iceberg.

    Is it any wonder that Munger is now advocating a complete ban of CDSs?

  7. Earlier he said he wished he had done the puts at lower market levels. At the meeting he said he modified two contracts in the previous week. Shortened the maturity to 10 years and lowered the strikes from 1514 to 994 (reduced from 18 years) for no cost.