Water Cooler Finance: Warren Buffett Buys A Lemonade Stand

By Andrew Beattie | April 01, 2010 AAA
Water Cooler Finance: Warren Buffett Buys A Lemonade Stand


The financial world is abuzz with news of Warren Buffet's unsolicited takeover bid for Kayla Summers' lemonade stand. We'll start there in our look at the significant financial events happening this week.

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Warren Buffett Invests $2 billion In Girl's Lemonade Stand
The Oracle of Omaha has found it harder and harder to keep coattail investors guessing as to where he will invest next. On Wednesday, it was reported that Mr. Buffett walked to his office and bought a cup of lemonade from 10-year-old Kayla Summers. Impressed by the girl's sales ability and low overhead - her mom pays for the lemons - Buffett sunk $2 billion into her operations. Asked what she would do with the money, Kayla responded that she had plans to "buy a pony." Berkshire shares rose 4% on the news.


Stock Market Future Found in a Tattoo
Jack "Switchblade" Adams, 45, discovered an unexpected boon in the tattoos he received during a career with the merchant marines. By his own admission, Adams was "blind drunk" when he wandered into a tattoo hut in Singapore, Bangkok, or Shanghai.


"I can't rightly remember which," he said, "there was this old woman with a glass eye and a parrot, or maybe the parrot had the glass eye."

Two days later and back at sea, Adams and his comrades admired the simplistic tattoo that everyone assumed was a stylistic mountain range. Five years later, Adams noticed an eerie similarity between the tattoo and the historical graph of the Dow Jones Industrial Average that appeared in a newspaper.

To test his theory, Adams compared the paper to his tattoo and identified the 2008 drop followed by an extended rally. He went to a stockbroker and sold the market short. When the drop occurred, Adams took his profits and went long, making a 600% return on the trade. (For more on the Dow, see How Now, Dow? What Moves The DJIA?)

More Greeks Move to Atlantis
Faced with a government bond default, tax increases and service cuts, legions of Greeks have decided to leave their homeland and move to the fabled city of Atlantis.

"I've never heard of anyone paying taxes in Atlantis," Adrian, a student at Athens University pointed out, "I just wish someone had marked the Pillars of Hercules on the map."

Long line-ups at sporting goods stores fought for a limited supply of oxygen tanks - and even snorkels were fetching hundreds of euros. Greek officials pointed out that no one knew where Atlantis actually was, but other European Union members welcomed Atlantis into the Eurozone in the hope that its debt-free balance sheet could help shore up the Greek economy. (Learn more about what's been happening in Greece in EU Economics: It's All Greek To Me.)

Fed Accidently Leaves the Printing Press On
On Monday, an embarrassed Ben Bernanke told the public that he and other Fed officials accidently left the printing press running all weekend.


"I remember hitting the lights and I asked Donny [Vice Chairman Donald Kohn] to make sure the press was off. Apparently, he didn't hear me," Bernanke explained to reporters.

It's estimated that almost $3 trillion is set to enter the system, guaranteeing a sharp rise in inflation and drop in purchasing power. Bernanke encouraged people to look on the bright side.
"This will help pay down our foreign debts and balance the budget in one fell swoop," he said. " It's kinda lucky that way."


In addition, Bernanke explained that very few people will actually feel poorer and that, other than the severed hand of the American ambassador to China that arrived in the mail, there was little in the way of negative responses.

"It's a lot easier than those Treasury bond purchases, anyhow," Bernanke added. "Congress has told us to just let the bugger run."

Man Makes a Fortune In Stocks He Almost Bought
Back in the 1980s, Randy Wallace began keeping a list of stocks he almost bought. His list included many of today's top companies when they were just starting out.

"I thought to myself, computers look like a sure thing. So I wrote down a couple companies like Microsoft (NYSE:MSFT) - back then no one was paying attention to them - and added in some others like Coca Cola (NYSE:KO) and McDonalds (NYSE:MCD). I had $10,000 to put into them, and I almost did."


By tracking his near miss portfolio if he had bought and held it, Wallace discovered that he was a multimillionaire in an alternate universe.

What did he actually buy with the money?

"GM and Chrysler stock."

Conclusion: April Fools
If you are a Greek merchant marine with a bad tattoo, a parrot with a glass eye, own shares in GM and Chrysler or collect a salary in U.S. dollars, then I'm deeply sorry - but you can take solace in the fact that you're one of a kind.


(If you want to find out what actually happened this week, check out Water Cooler Finance: Zombies File Taxes, Dead Bills Rise.)

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