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Kass: Warren Buffett Has Lost His Groove

Stocks in this article: BRK.A GS GE

This blog post originally appeared on RealMoney Silver on Nov. 12 at 9:22 a.m. EST.

"I was wired at birth to allocate capital."

-- Warren Buffett

The unprecedented market decline has hobbled some of the most successful investors and industrialists of our generation, proving Warren Buffett correct when he wrote, "Over time, markets will do extraordinary, even bizarre things. A single, big mistake could wipe out a long string of successes."

Legg Mason's (LM) Bill Miller, Citadel's Ken Griffin, Viacom's (VIA) Sumner Redstone and Las Vegas Sands' (LVS) Sheldon Adelson have suffered sharp reversals from their previous successes. No doubt many others will be revealed by year-end.

The market decline is now even hurting Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) as, arguably, Warren Buffett has lost his groove.

As I have previously written, I have worshiped at the altar of Warren Buffett since the late 1970s -- ever since an investor and acquaintance, Conrad Taft, introduced me to his investment methodology and style at Berkshire Hathaway. In fact, my writings over the past seven years have often been punctuated with Buffett-isms. I have repeatedly objected to, scoffed at and refuted criticisms of Buffett's strategy on this site and elsewhere.

Indeed, a month ago, in "Buy It Like Buffett," I highlighted Buffett's prescient market calls over the years and his recent call to " Buy American. I Am."

During a portion of 2008, I was short Berkshire's stock. My rationale behind avoiding/shorting Berkshire Hathaway's common stock underscored that my negative investment view had to be differentiated from my respect (which borders on worship) of the greatest investment icon of the last half century.

In preparation for this column, over the weekend I re-read my pal Jeff Matthews' great new book, Pilgrimage to Warren Buffett's Omaha: A Hedge Fund Manager's Dispatches From Inside the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. (Disclosure: I happily wrote the endorsement on the back of the book.)

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