Warren Buffett: Japan crisis “extraordinary, a buying opportunity”

Warren Buffett samples a Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie Blizzard at a Dairy Queen in 2008.

What’s that you say about the earthquake-tsunami-meltdown crisis in Japan, Warren Buffett? That it’s horrible? That it’s a tragedy? Or that it’s a great opportunity for international investors?

On a visit to South Korea Monday, the billionaire investor spoke of the possible positive economic outcomes from the tragedy:

"Frequently, something out of the blue like this, an extraordinary event, really creates a buying opportunity. I have seen that happen in the United States, I have seen that happen around the world. I don’t think Japan will be an exception."

In the wake of Buffett’s comments, AOL’s DailyFinance issued a rebuttal, "Japan is Not a ‘Buying Opportunity.’" Nice work, DailyFinance: Not everything has to be thought about in terms of financial gains. Way to stand up for human dignity!

If you decide to take the plunge and buy Japanese stocks, the high risk of those stocks means you should be prepared to wait a long time to reap those expected returns. If you are investing for a short-term killing, you are likely to be disappointed.

The markets are unforgiving. They extract a price for the possibility of high returns. That price is "risk." "Risk" is a two-way street. High risk can mean high returns, but it can also mean significant losses. Just ask anyone who bought the Nikkei 225 since December of 1989.

Oh. Perhaps we were wrong. Talk about what a great opportunity the Japan tragedy is all you want. But is it too much to ask everyone to avoid phrases like ‘short-term killing’ for now? (via MarketWatch)


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