Gerald Miller | CNBC
Berkshire Hathaway’s results rebounded as the group’s business recovered from the outbreak of the pandemic. President Warren Buffett remained vigorously buying Berkshire shares in the first quarter. But at a slightly slower rate
Berkshire reported operating income of $ 7.018 billion in the first quarter, up 20 percent from $ 5.871 billion in the same period a year ago. The merger of its businesses, which includes insurance, transportation, utilities, retail and manufacturing, saw signs of recovery amid a rebounding economy.
In the first quarter, it bought back $ 6.6 billion of Berkshire shares after it had $ 24.7 billion in buybacks last year.Instead of a deal, the group had $ 9 billion in stock buybacks in the fourth quarter.
Berkshire Hathaway’s cash pile rose about 5 percent during the quarter to more than $ 145.4 billion, just slightly below the levels recorded at the end of the third quarter of last year.
Buffett sat on the sidelines as the settlement environment was more competitive and market valuations were lofty. The legendary investor said at last year’s annual meeting that he saw nothing as compelling as it would spur large acquisitions as in the past.
Berkshire’s equity investment also posted solid profits, up about $ 4.69 billion last quarter. However, Buffett told shareholders not to focus on quarterly volatility in investment gains and losses.
“The amount of profit (loss) from investing in any quarter is often meaningless and numerical for earnings per share that could be highly misleading investors with little or no knowledge of accounting rules.” Berkshire said in a statement.
Thanks to the repurchase program and operating business resurgence, Berkshire’s “B” shares rose more than 18% in 2021 to a record high.
The group’s total revenue was $ 64.6 billion last quarter, higher than Street’s forecast of $ 63.66 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting kicks off Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET in Los Angeles, with both Buffett and vice president Charlie Munger. This event will be held without attendance a second time.
(Correction: Story corrects Berkshire’s first quarter investment profit amount)
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