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One chart that shows how rough it’s been for Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway has been having a rough time

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Stuff happens.

Say it ain’t so, o’ Sage of Omaha.

Lighting up the radar screens of a few investors lately are blips showing Warren Buffett’s mighty Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BRK.A, -1.47% BRK.B, -1.62% has fallen on relatively tough times. The multinational conglomerate holding companydoubled its third-quarter profit, but suffered a profit drop in its core insurance underwriting business.

Berkshire’s Class A shares are down nearly 11% this year, against a 0.8% gain for the S&P 500 SPX, -1.40%

Hey, lousy bets are part of the business, right? After all Buffett himself once said, “You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.” Of course, he also said: “The most important thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.”

Berkshire took big paper losses in the quarter on its position in IBM Corp.IBM, -1.47% , which last month reported a drop in earnings and issued a weak outlook. Shares of IBM are down 17% year to date. And Berkshire’s stake in Wal-Mart Holdings Inc. WMT, -1.09% clearly has not had an easy ride; those shares have skidded 33% with just several weeks left to go for 2015.

Regulatory filings show that only two of Berkshire’s 10 top stockholdings — Wells Fargo & Co. WFC, -1.13% and General Motors Co. GM, -1.29% — have risen in the past year, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Laying out some concerns on his Tumblr blog, Dana Lyons, partner at J. Lyons Fund Management, says there’s more than this to the Berkshire woes. He says Berkshire shares relative to the S&P 500 SPX, -1.40% “recently experienced an auspicious development,” when they “broke through an UP trendline that has been in place since 2001.”

Here’s that chart:

J. Lyons Fund Management/My401KPro.com

It wouldn’t be the first time Berkshire has gone through rough patches, notes Lyons. “BRK shareholders can only hope the current ‘dry spell’ turns out like those in 2000 and 2006, which resulted in outperformance versus the S&P 500 of roughly 11,000 and 8,000 basis points, respectively over the next two years,” he writes. He noted the S&P 500 also had sizable declines during those periods.

Lyons stopped short of saying it was time to bail on Berkshire Hathaway, though he did say there are probably better stocks or even index funds to own. He says “while you may come across thinly veiled ‘Warren Buffett has lost it’ articles, it’s probably wise to avoid tugging on Superman’s cape.” Superman, of course being Buffett.

And Buffett, of course, isn't the only one going through a rough patch. Another is Pershing Square Holdings, run by Bill Ackman, who took a jab at Buffett on Wednesday over the morality of his investment in Coca-Cola Co. KO, -1.09%Ackman’s fund has been losing money even as the stock market has risen this year.

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