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- The legendary investor Warren Buffett avoids making predictions, but we’ve gathered 12 of his best guesses about cryptocurrency, table tennis, and even his own death.
- We’ve detailed each prediction and assessed its accuracy in the slideshow below.
The legendary investor Warren Buffett knows better than to make predictions.
“We have no idea — and never have had — whether the market is going to go up, down, or sideways in the near- or intermediate-term future,” he wrote in his 1986 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.
Yet the Oracle of Omaha couldn’t resist making a few guesses about the future over the years. We’ve gathered 12 of his most intriguing predictions and assessed their accuracy in the slideshow below.
“In terms of cryptocurrencies generally, I can say almost with certainty that they will come to a bad ending,” Buffett said in an interview with CNBC in January 2018. “Now, when it happens or how or anything else, I don’t know.”
He added: “If I could buy a five-year put on every one of the cryptocurrencies, I’d be glad to do it, but I would never short a dime’s worth.”
Buffett has been right about cryptocurrencies so far. At the time of his prediction, bitcoin traded above $14,000. The cryptocurrency slumped below $4,000 by the end of 2018, and it’s now trading at about $5,200.
“Ships will sail around the world, but the Flat Earth Society will flourish,” Buffett said in a speech at Columbia’s business school in May 1984.
Buffett may have been making a point about stubborn denialism in financial markets, but his prediction about so-called flat-earthers was correct — they’ve enjoyed a resurgence in recent years.
3. Berkshire Hathaway
“It is fitting that the visit of Halley’s Comet coincided with this percentage gain: neither will be seen again in my lifetime,” Buffett told Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in 1985 after the conglomerate grew its net worth by 48.2%.
He also predicted that the 23.2% compounded annual growth in the company’s per-share book value that year was “another percentage that will not be repeated.”
It took nearly 20 years for Buffett to prove himself wrong on the first count. Berkshire Hathaway’s net worth jumped by 48.3% in 1998, though that was largely because the company issued shares for acquisitions.
“Normally, a gain of 48.3% would call for handsprings — but not this year,” he told investors.
Buffett’s second prediction was way off the mark. Berkshire Hathaway’s per-share book value rose by 23.3% in 1986. It has also grown by at least 23.2% in more than 10 other years since 1985.
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