Yes, says the always-interesting Matthew Lynn in his Bloomberg column this morning:
Maybe it is his age, his probable retirement or the mediocre performance of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s shares the past two years. Whatever the cause, Warren Buffett's ruminations on the financial markets have taken on a grouchy, quarrelsome tone recently.
Lynn discusses Buffett's (so far) wrong call on the US dollar, disputes his calling derivatives "weapons of mass destruction," and takes issue with his now saying that hedge funds and buyout firms fleecing us all. The piece continues:
That might explain Berkshire Hathaway's share-price decline. The stock has dropped 1 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a 14 percent gain for the KBW Insurance Index. Over the past five years, it has trailed the KBW index.
Listening to Buffett's predictions of the past three years, it is hard to escape the impression that he is out of touch. He looks at new, innovative trends in the market and condemns them as dangerous because he may not understand them so well.
And last week, Forbes magazine estimated Buffett's net worth at $42 billion, about $2 billion less than in 2005.
My take is that three years may not be long enough to establish that Buffett has lost his touch. And it's also worth noting that the dollar amounts Buffett is dealing with now are HUGE. Yet Lynn's piece is good so be sure and read all of it.