From Bill Miller's Q2 Letter:
A group of us were standing around a few weeks ago when Warren Buffett wandered over. Chris Davis had dubbed us the Value Support Group, as we all adhered to that approach to investing. We were commiserating over how badly we had done in this market, how valuation appeared not to matter and had not for the past couple of years, how it was all about momentum and trend, and how we were all losing clients and assets over and above our losses in the market. It seemed like we needed a 12-step program to cure us of our addiction to buying beaten-up stocks trading at large discounts to our assessment of their intrinsic value.
Mason Hawkins said, "Warren, I'm an optimist. I think this whole thing can turn quickly, and surprise people. Are you an optimist?" "I'm a realist, Mason," the sage replied. Warren went on to say he was optimistic long term, and backed that up in a talk the next morning on the remarkable history of growth, innovation, and wealth creation the U.S. had produced over the past 200-plus years. He also offered a sober assessment of the current challenges we face, and said it would take some time to work through them.
He then made the perfectly sensible point that as we are all net savers, we should be happy if stock prices declined a lot more, so we could buy even better bargains. That is a point Charlie Ellis elaborated on in his fine book, Investment Policy, a few years back. As a matter of logic, it is irrefragable. As a matter of psychology, I think most of us value investors think we have plenty enough bargains already, and may not be able to handle that many more. Or more accurately, our clients may not be able to. We are value investors because we are persuaded of the logic of buying shares of businesses when others want to sell them, and we understand that lower prices today mean higher future rates of return, and high prices today mean lower future rates of return.