Warren Buffett doesn't have as big a profile over here as he does in the US, where the Oracle of Omaha still has the legendary ability to pick stocks that make a lot of money. One of the richest people in the US, his down-home style and legendary parsimony has helped make him a folk hero, and there are plenty of people who've made useful amounts of money just following his lead. As he likes picking stocks with a long-term view -- famously, if he can't see where a company will be in ten years' time, he won't invest -- he stayed out of the Net bubble. And now he's investing $100m -- cigarette money by his standards, but a sizeable chunk nonetheless -- in Level 3, a telecoms company. Recently, investors would more willingly have held a decomposing dog than telecoms equity, so Buffett's move is seen as very newsworthy. And it's certainly true that when all the dust dies down and the weaker creatures have gone to the wall, there'll still be a strong, expanding and profitable market in telecommunications. Perhaps he can see that future beginning to shape up through the haze. Or perhaps he's lost his marbles. I know which I'd choose to believe. The stock market responds by plunging further into gloom.