How Warren Buffett made $30bn as Cathie Wood crashed!

Over the past 12 months, Warren Buffett’s personal wealth has soared by $30bn. Meanwhile, Cathie Wood’s investors took a beating as ARKK stock crashed.

| More on:

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

Fans of Warren Buffett taking his photo

Image source: The Motley Fool

When investing, your capital is at risk. The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you put in.

Read More

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, any form of personal advice. Investments in a currency other than sterling are exposed to currency exchange risk. Currency exchange rates are constantly changing, which may affect the value of the investment in sterling terms. You could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, and may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection as in the UK.

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More.

If there’s one investor I worship above all others, it would be the legendary Warren Buffett. The ‘Oracle of Omaha’ has built a fortune exceeding $113bn through long-term value investing. What’s more, as one of the world’s most generous philanthropists, he’s given away more than $45bn to good causes. And Buffett’s words of wit and wisdom have benefited many millions of investors worldwide — including me.

However, in recent years, doubters have started taking pot-shots at the 91-year-old guru. The stellar performance of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A), his conglomerate, has eased off over the past decade. In the last five years, Berkshire stock has gained 91.3%, versus 92.9% for the S&P 500 index (all returns in this article exclude dividends). But over the past 12 months, Berkshire stock has leapt 35.7% — more than double the S&P 500’s 17.4% gain. So, for the past year at least, backing Warren Buffett was once again a wise move.

‘The Queen of the bull market’

Since 2019, one major contender has stepped up — a challenger to seize the throne and take the crown from the world’s greatest investor. She’s Cathie Wood, manager of the wildly popular ARK Innovation ETF (NYSEMKT: ARKK). Wood, a 66-year-old devout Christian from Los Angeles, named her fund group Ark Invest after the Biblical Ark of the Covenant. And in 2020, her ARKK exchange-traded fund’s performance was nothing short of heavenly, easily thrashing Warren Buffett’s returns.

Cathie Wood has managed the ARKK ETF since it was launched on 30 October 2014. This New York-listed ETF invests in ‘disruptive innovation’ in fields such as DNA sequencing and genomics, automation and robotics, green energy, artificial intelligence, and fintech (financial technology). Thus, Wood’s fund is heavily weighted towards highly rated tech stocks — with the largest holding being electric carmaker Tesla.

From its launch in late 2014 to peaking in February 2021, ARKK delivered a colossal return of 683.6%. In other words, $1,000 invested in this ETF at launch would have been worth over $7,836 at the peak price of $159.70 on 16 February 2021. But such market-thrashing returns rarely persist and quite often become a flash in the pan. On Friday, ARKK closed at $68.91, having collapsed by more than half (-56.9%) from its all-time high. So far in 2022 — just a month into the year — ARKK has crashed by more than a quarter (-27.2%). And over 12 months, the stock has collapsed by 51.7%, making it one of the worst-performing US ETFs over one year. So much for Cathie Wood stealing Warren Buffett’s crown.

Warren Buffett trounces Cathie Wood over one year

Though I admire and respect Cathie Wood, her reputation relies on just three outstanding years: 2017, 2019 and 2020. Here’s how ARKK has performed since end-2014.

Year Year-end price Yearly change
2014 $20.16
2015 $20.46 1.5%
2016 $20.05 -2.0%
2017 $37.08 84.9%
2018 $37.19 0.3%
2019 $50.05 34.6%
2020 $124.69 149.1%
2021 $94.59 -24.1%

As shown, ARRK had three dull years, three exceptional years, and an awful 2021. Thus, its five-year gain has declined to 207.9% — still an excellent return. However, with the stock now deep into bear territory, anyone backing Cathie Wood since late June 2020 will have lost money (on paper or in reality). Meanwhile, investors backing Warren Buffett have been handsomely rewarded. Over one year, $1,000 invested in Berkshire stock would be worth more than $1,357 today, versus $483 in ARKK.

In short, ARKK’s collapsing stock over the past year has cost Cathie Wood’s fans billions of dollars. Meanwhile, Berkshire Hathaway’s market value has soared to nearly $700bn. This has added almost $30bn to Warren Buffett’s personal wealth. That’s why he’s still my hero!

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Cliffdarcy has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Tesla. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services, such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool, we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

More on Investing Articles

Young black female footballer training on stadium pitch
Investing Articles

My JD Sports Fashion share price prediction for the second half of 2024

The JD Sports Fashion share price hasn't yet recovered from January’s slump. So will the retailer's stock bounce back in…

Read more »

Investing Articles

Up 47% in a week! Can the Capita share price continue to rocket?

The Capita share price has smashed the market in the last week, and Harvey Jones wonders whether it has the…

Read more »

Young Asian man drinking coffee at home and looking at his phone
Investing Articles

What could the second half of 2024 have in store for the BAE Systems share price?

After a strong first six months of the year, what could be coming next for the BAE Systems share price?…

Read more »

Growth Shares

2 FTSE 100 stocks that are outperforming these MAG7 members

Jon Smith reveals some FTSE 100 stocks that offer him a viable alternative to the Magnificent 7, based on recent…

Read more »

Investing Articles

My Scottish Mortgage shares just paid me £14.88. It’s another step towards making a million

Harvey Jones has just received a measly dividend from his Scottish Mortgage shares, but he's got big, big plans for…

Read more »

Investing Articles

FTSE 100 shares: is Barclays a standout buy?

Barclays shares are among the FTSE 100's top performers and this Fool thinks they have further to go. He explains…

Read more »

Black woman using loudspeaker to be heard
Investing For Beginners

At 52-week highs, here’s what may be next for the Lloyds share price

Jon Smith notes the strong rally in the Lloyds share price in the recent past and explains why the good…

Read more »

Young Asian woman with head in hands at her desk
Investing Articles

These UK shares are stinking out my ISA. Time to sell?

Paul Summers has been reviewing some of the worst-performing UK shares in his portfolio. Has the time finally come to…

Read more »