Tags: DiLallo | Buffett | gold | invest

Motley Fool's DiLallo: Why Buffett Hates Gold

By    |   Monday, 22 September 2014 10:55 AM

The reason Warren Buffett hates gold is because he believes it is intrinsically worthless, according to Motley Fool columnist Matt DiLallo.

Buffett has demonstrated time and again he prefers the miracle of compounding value that comes with investments that throw off increased value during time, DiLallo explained.

He recalled a speech Buffett gave at Harvard in 1988 in which he said of gold:

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"[It] gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head."

Buffett's opinion apparently has not changed over the years.

In his 2011 shareholder letter, he called gold an "unproductive asset" and said that such assets "will never produce anything, but are purchased in the buyer's hope that someone else will pay more for them in the future," DiLallo noted. Buffett went on to say that its owners "are not inspired by what the asset itself can produce — it will remain lifeless forever — but by the belief that others will desire it even more avidly in the future."

Buffett has expressed disbelief that some investors are willing to value gold over farmland, for instance, which produces a stream of value in the form of cash crops at the same time gold sits in a vault producing nothing, according to DiLallo.

"There's a real good reason why Warren Buffett hates gold. One who buys gold is hoping for the greater fool to buy it from them for a higher price at some future date. But that's not investing — it's gambling."

The bottom line, according to DiLallo: "In Buffett's opinion, gold is lazy and has no place in an investor's portfolio."

While gold started off 2014 with a bang and a 13 percent gain, it has since fallen back to earth at about $1,217 per ounce as of Wednesday morning, close to its lowest price since December, MarketWatch's Jeff Reeves reported.

"So should investors consider this sell-off as an opportunity to buy precious metals on the cheap? Or is gold really tarnished for some time to come? Sadly for gold bugs, it's the latter," Reeves predicted.

He said factors that will hold gold back for now are a stronger dollar, widespread "risk-on" sentiment for investments like stocks, and a slump in global demand for the precious metal.

"On the whole, the World Gold Council announced that global gold demand was off 16 percent in the second quarter, with total bar and coin demand down a staggering 56 percent," Reeves noted.

"If you think that seasonal jewelry demand around the Chinese New Year is going to make up for this broader downtrend, go ahead and buy gold," he wrote.

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The reason Warren Buffett hates gold is because he believes it is intrinsically worthless, according to Motley Fool columnist Matt DiLallo.
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2014-55-22
Monday, 22 September 2014 10:55 AM
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