Buffett's firm says 4Q profit up 15 percent on investments

Markets Associated Press

  • FILE - In this June 14, 2016 file photo, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett addresses the White House Summit on the United State of Women in Washington. Buffett is planning to release his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017.  The letter is always one of the best-read business documents every year because of Buffett's knack for explaining complex issues in simple terms and because of his remarkably successful investing record. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    FILE - In this June 14, 2016 file photo, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett addresses the White House Summit on the United State of Women in Washington. Buffett is planning to release his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway ... shareholders on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. The letter is always one of the best-read business documents every year because of Buffett's knack for explaining complex issues in simple terms and because of his remarkably successful investing record. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this June 14, 2016 file photo, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett addresses the White House Summit on the United State of Women in Washington. Buffett is planning to release his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017.  The letter is always one of the best-read business documents every year because of Buffett's knack for explaining complex issues in simple terms and because of his remarkably successful investing record. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    FILE - In this June 14, 2016 file photo, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett addresses the White House Summit on the United State of Women in Washington. Buffett is planning to release his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway ... shareholders on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. The letter is always one of the best-read business documents every year because of Buffett's knack for explaining complex issues in simple terms and because of his remarkably successful investing record. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this June 14, 2016 file photo, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett addresses the White House Summit on the United State of Women in Washington. Buffett is planning to release his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017.  The letter is always one of the best-read business documents every year because of Buffett's knack for explaining complex issues in simple terms and because of his remarkably successful investing record. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    FILE - In this June 14, 2016 file photo, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett addresses the White House Summit on the United State of Women in Washington. Buffett is planning to release his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway ... shareholders on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. The letter is always one of the best-read business documents every year because of Buffett's knack for explaining complex issues in simple terms and because of his remarkably successful investing record. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (The Associated Press)

Warren Buffett's company says fourth-quarter profit improved 15 percent, but most of the gains came from the paper value of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s investments and derivative contracts.

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The Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate released its latest results Saturday along with Buffett's annual letter to shareholders.

Berkshire said it earned $6.29 billion, or $2.55 per Class B share. That's up from $5.48 billion, or $3.65 per Class B share.

The analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings per Class B share of $1.82 although they generally exclude investments and derivatives from their estimates. Berkshire said those operating earnings totaled $1.78 per Class B share.

Berkshire's investments and derivatives were worth roughly $1.2 billion at the end of the quarter, up from $399 million. That overshadowed the 6 percent profit decline at Berkshire's operating businesses.