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Warren Buffett

(FORTUNE Magazine) - Warren Buffett often uses his annual report to comment on subjects he believes of importance to today's markets. Here, from the report published Saturday, is short snipped taken from an allegory about "How to Minimize Investment Returns."
Between Dec. 31, 1899, and Dec. 31, 1999, to give a really long-term example, the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497. (Guess what annual growth rate is required to produce this result...)
Here's the answer to the question posed at the beginning of this piece: To get very specific, the Dow increased from 65.73 to 11,497.12 in the 20th century, and that amounts to a gain of 5.3 percent compounded annually. (Investors would also have received dividends, of course.) To achieve an equal rate of gain in the 21st century, the Dow will have to rise by Dec. 31, 2099, to -- brace yourself -- precisely 2,011,011.23. But I'm willing to settle for 2,000,000; six years into this century, the Dow has gained not at all.