What Makes Warren Buffett Tick?

Dan Ciuboda, a friend of Jude’s Threshold, has a post up on billionaire Warren Buffett that Jude is urging folks to read.

In case you haven’t heard, Buffett is the man of the hour on Wall Street. He’s agreed to give Goldman Sachs a “cash infusion” of $5 billion in exchange for preferred shares in the investment bank, which is converting to commercial bank status to get a little more government protection.

I did my duty on various blogs and pointed out that Warren Buffett is not a “buffet,” a little mental note that has prevented me from misspelling the Oracle of Omaha’s name on many occasions.

I wouldn’t have tried to calculate Buffett’s chart on my own, but looking at the horoscope for Buffett proposed by Ciuboda at Living Astrology got me thinking.

Ciuboda’s got Buffett as a late Gemini rising, with martial Mars quite close to the Ascendant, but Buffett doesn’t seem that combative to me. Of course, Mars is in Cancer so if someone writes in and says he’s read articles about how Buffett gets teary-eyed and sentimental at the drop of a hat, I’ll believe in this chart.

I don’t have the time or patience to rectify. We’ll leave that to the pros like Michael WolfStar. Here’s my seat-of-the-pants calculation:

I believe that Buffett, who was born in Omaha on Aug. 30, 1930, is a Virgo rising with Sun and Neptune conjunct on the Ascendant. If you look at Buffett, he dresses like an accountant — very Virgoan. The Neptune on the Ascendant would be the reason why he’s known as the “Oracle of Omaha” since Neptune is quite visionary.

Buffett’s still going strong at 78, so that could indicate a Sun on the Ascendant, which gives good health and vitality. He has a sunny disposition and is always smiling.

The Sun/Neptune combo in humble Virgo is also his folksiness — personally writing a letter to shareholders every year in the annual report of his main investment vehicle, a publicly traded company named Berkshire Hathaway. (Most CEOs have the PR department write such correspondence.) Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha has kind of a state fair feeling to it, with lots of exhibits and diversions for shareholders. It’s been dubbed the “Woodstock of Capitalism.”

By living simply, Buffett is celebrating the common man. But he’s not a stick in the mud: He likes a little good-old fashioned fun.

A couple of other thoughts: The modest house that Buffett lives in? That’s camouflage. That’s why I’ve got Scorpio on the fourth house cusp. The Moon in exotic, free-thinking Sagittarius is inside Buffett’s fourth house, which rules home and family.

Guess what? After his first wife Susie passed away in 2004, Buffett married his longtime partner, Astrid Menks, a Latvian immigrant who ended up waiting tables in Omaha. Susie, who moved to San Francisco in 1977 to pursue political interests and a cabaret singing career, encouraged Buffett’s relationship with Menks. The three used to send out Christmas cards together. Not what you would expect from a buttoned-down Omaha businessman. So, Moon in Sagittarius: The first wife is open-minded and the second one is a foreigner.

Buffett had a close, possibly intimate, friendship with Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. In her biography Personal History, Graham credited Buffett with showing her the ropes of business after he made in an investment in the family-controlled company.

Graham, best known for publishing the stories that exposed the Watergate scandal and forced President Richard Nixon to resign, was thrust into running the paper and its other media operations after her husband committed suicide. So the Moon in Sag shows up as the lady publisher.

Where does Buffett’s tremendous wealth come from? I think it’s due to the conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto in Cancer in the 11th house, which ancient astrologers considered a very lucky house indeed. Think about it: Pluto the Intensifier and Jupiter the Expander in Cancer, the sign that rules food and sustenance. No wonder so many people have turned “Buffett” into “Buffet.”

Check out Buffett’s chart.

Thanks to Astrodienst, I’ve run the horoscope with transits of July 4, 1776. No, Buffett wasn’t one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. However, like many prominent Americans he has strong connections to the U.S. chart. Buffett has been a champion of American brands, often investing in them when they were out of fashion on Wall Street, and staying in the shares for the long haul.

Like the U.S., Buffett is going to face a lot of financial stress when Pluto starts moving in Capricorn over the next two years. In fact, some astrologers use his chart (even without a correct time of birth) as a surrogate for the U.S. economy.

I’ve filed Buffett under Heroes, not because he’s worth about $60 billion, but because he’s giving away the majority of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Founded by the chairman of Microsoft and his wife, the foundation is using Buffett’s dough to improve access to health care and education in developing countries.

Buffett also was smart enough to label derivative instruments such as credit default swaps as “financial weapons of mass destruction” long before Wall Street got into the mess it’s in.

No wonder they call him the Oracle of Omaha.

In GOOG We Trust?

Over the holidays, I went to a friend’s house for dinner and her husband’s cousin was visiting from Denmark. We started talking about the U.S. and whether the country can compete in the face of low-cost wages and formidable brainpower from China and India. He said that even though he grew up drinking Coke and wearing Levi’s, there was just one American company today that he couldn’t live without today: Google.

Ever since its shares began trading publicly on Aug. 19, 2004, Google has been almost a religion with Wall Street investors. I recently talked to an old friend and she tells me the value of her house has declined in the midst of the subprime mortgage crisis. “But that’s O.K.,” she says with a smile. “I’ve got Google in my portfolio.”

I nodded. Even though I don’t own Google, I understand what it’s like to get a warm and fuzzy feeling from a great stock.

Until recently, the search engine giant was a juggernaut, immune to the forces of gravity.But there have been some downbeat reports about Google lately. It seems the search wunderkind is experiencing a slowdown in its paid “click” traffic. That isn’t surprising to me, with Saturn in Virgo hanging around Google’s Mercury/Mars. No matter how great Google is, if the U.S. is going into a recession, Internet ad clicks will decline because people don’t have as much disposable income to shop.

If you want to read more about what’s been ailing Google, here’s a good BusinessWeek story: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_15/b4079021321853.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_top+story

Google may be down, but it’s not out. Google shares rose 4% on Apr. 1, to $465.71, on the news that Goldman Sachs analyst James Mitchell assumed coverage of the search engine giant and issued a “buy” recommendation. I was doing a little research myself on GOOG (its ticker symbol) on Mar. 31. I was trying to figure out why the stock market darling was down about 30% from its high of $747.24, set Nov. 7 last year.

As with most companies, Google has more than one “birth chart.” There’s the chart for when Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the company on Sept. 7, 1998 in Menlo Park, Calif. Incorporation charts are usually set for a noon birthdate. Here’s that chart, courtesy of Astrodienst.

Another chart, which I prefer, is when the stock began trading on Nasdaq, the day after its initial public offering. That Google first-trade chart is set for 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 19, 2004 in New York.

I think this chart is a better reflection of the public company than the incorporation one. The Libra Moon rising in the first trading day chart is an accurate depiction of the partnership between Page and Brin. The Sun in Leo is apt for a stock that has almost a “rock star” status on Wall Street. Furthermore, the Mercury/Mars conjunction in Virgo opposing Uranus in Pisces is a perfect planetary aspect  for an Internet search company.

I’m not a financial analyst, but the good news is that Pluto is going back into Sagittarius on June 14, moving retrograde toward a trine with GOOG’s Sun in Leo. I think that aspect will get Google on the acquisition trail again and will be beneficial for international expansion.

In terms of the stock price, Google has Jupiter at 22 degrees of Virgo in the first trading day chart. Transiting Jupiter in Capricorn will be making a station trining Google’s Jupiter on May 9, a positive aspect, so I’m looking for GOOG to regain some lost ground then.

Transiting Saturn in Virgo will be quite close to Google’s Jupiter toward  the end of December, which could mean some kind of real estate news — perhaps acquiring land for a regional headquarters or announcing a new building or a major expansion of the Googleplex, as the company’s headquarters is known. We’ll see.

The transiting Saturn/Uranus opposition in Virgo/Pisces which is exact on Election Day, suggests sudden separation at Google. Perhaps there will be a management shakeup or the company will be forced to divest part of its operations to obtain regulatory approval for a megamerger of some kind. Something or someone will be leaving the company.

This post on Google does not constitute a buy recommendation for the search engine company. Talk to your investment adviser before loading up on Google.