If the quote at the top of this page looks somewhat familiar to our long-term shareholders, it may be because the practice of tending to the present moment – responding to prevailing conditions rather than relying on forecasts – is central to our investment discipline.
Focusing on the present moment doesn't imply ignoring the past or failing to consider the future. It's clear, for example, that we put a great deal of attention on estimating future cash flows and discounting them appropriately in order to evaluate whether various investments are priced to deliver satisfactory long-term returns. We certainly devote our attention to macroeconomic pressures and latent risks that threaten to become full-blown crises later. Still, we rarely make near term forecasts. Nor do we answer surveys like “where do you think the S&P 500 will be at year-end?” – a question that falls entirely outside of our way of thinking – like asking Columbus what sort of trees he thinks are planted along the edge of the Earth. The reason we avoid forecasts, very simply, is that they are not required, and that they can be a hindrance.