22 Feb 2020

Rising stocks fuel huge profit for Buffett’s Berkshire

FILE PHOTO: Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett walks through the exhibit hall as shareholders gather to hear from the billionaire investor at Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Morgan

(Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Saturday posted a 23% decrease in quarterly operating profit, while soaring stock prices boosted net results and enabled the conglomerate to smash its old record for full-year earnings.

Fourth-quarter operating profit totaled $4.42 billion, or approximately $2,720 per Class A share, down from $5.72 billion, or about $3,484 per share, a year earlier, hurt by a loss from insurance underwriting.

Berkshire also posted quarterly net income of $29.16 billion, compared with a net loss of $25.39 billion a year earlier, reflecting huge unrealized gains in its common stock holdings.

For all of 2019, net income totaled $81.42 billion, topping the record $44.94 billion reported for 2017, when Berkshire benefited from that year’s reduction in the U.S. corporate tax rate.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; EDiting by Giles Elgood

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