Buffett’s consistency. The one thing you can say about Warren Buffett is that he sticks to past views. Take these comments about investment banks in his 2015 shareholder letter, released in February:

“Investment bankers, being paid as they are for action, constantly urge acquirers to pay 20 to 50 percent premiums over market price for publicly held businesses. The bankers tell the buyer that the premium is justified for ‘control value’ and for the wonderful things that are going to happen once the acquirer’s C.E.O. takes charge. (What acquisition-hungry manager will challenge that assertion?)”

Buffett clearly doesn’t like them and hasn’t used an investment bank to buy any of the multibillion-dollar deals he has done in his career. The US$37.5 billion purchase of Precision Castparts (Berkshire’s largest ever) overnight is no different. Swiss bank Credit Suisse was financial adviser to Precision Castparts, while Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Stoel Rives were legal advisers. Berkshire Hathaway’s legal counsel was Munger, Tolles & Olson (which is the law firm of Berkshire vice-chairman and co-founder, Charlie Munger). Of course not using expensive investment banks also saves tens of millions of dollars, perhaps hundreds of millions for deals as big as Precision, so there is method in his independence. — Glenn Dyer

Following the master. And speaking of the Sainted Warren, Google’s surprise restructure this morning looks like an imitation of the Berkshire Hathaway holding company structure, with a host of subsidiary companies spread beneath it, such as the latest, Precision Castparts. Under Google’s revamp, the namesake search engine will become a subsidiary of the holding company called Alphabet (will there be 26 subsidiaries?). Co-founder and chief executive Larry Page will become CEO of the new holding company, which will focus on the company’s speculative projects. Sundar Pichai, the top deputy, takes the helm at Google Inc, according to a filing with US securities regulators. The present Google said the move would split the management of its Calico, Nest, Fiber, Google Venture, Google Capital and Google X businesses from its core search and ad operations. Google Inc will also include its maps, applications, YouTube and Android product lines. I wonder if this has anything to do with Google’s biggest flop, Google Glass, which wasn’t mentioned. Google (the present company) shares rose 6%, or more than US$20 billion in after-hours trading. How to goose a slack share price? — Glenn Dyer

Well, fancy that. A combination of sellers’ remorse from Friday, a reasonable trading update from the NAB and a solid full-year profit for Bendigo and Adelaide Bank helped send bank shares higher yesterday and away from last Friday’s headless chicken-like sell-off after the ANZ surprised with news of its $3 billion capital raising. Not even talk of a $5 billion monster from the Commonwealth tomorrow could stampede investors out of bank shares for a second day. After losing 7.5% on Friday, ANZ shares recovered 1.5% yesterday to $30.60. The Commonwealth Bank added 1% to $82.14, ahead of tomorrow’s annual results and capital raising. Westpac also added 1% to $32.68, and National Australia Bank shares jumped 1.5% to $33.32 after it reported a 9% lift in third-quarter profits to $1.75 billion. But what was interesting was a reference in a Fairfax Media market report that “an upgrade of the bank’s stock by Citi to a ‘buy’ provided additional tailwind,” in reference to the ANZ’s solid rise yesterday. And why would an upgrade from Citi be of interest? Well, Citi is one of the three investment banks raising the $2.5 billion institutional part of the ANZ’s $3 billion. An upgrade from a broker or investment bank always helps, but when it comes from one of the banks running the fund raising, that’s gold. Every little bit helps. — Glenn Dyer

China ore shock, horror. Australia lost market share in the Chinese iron ore market in July as exports from Port Hedland fell 9.5%, at the same time as imports into China jumped nearly 15%. Imports of iron ore jumped 14.9% from June (and from July 2014) to reach 86.1 million tonnes, the highest level since December, and one of the highest on record. The rise came despite a rise in stocks as steel mills eye the seasonal upturn in production over the next few months, and higher prices during the month. Shipments from China from the Pilbara (as revealed by the Pilbara Ports Authority) showed a fall of 9.5% to 29.48 million tonnes from 32.61 million in June. Total iron ore exports fell 8.8% in July to 35.31 million. Both were the lowest iron ore exports have been since last November. That can be another little iron ore factoid for the doom and gloomers to worry about. — Glenn Dyer