Berkshire Preliminary 1Q Operating Profit Falls

Warren Buffett on Saturday said preliminary first-quarter profit at his Berkshire Hathaway fell about 12 percent, hurt by weaker performance in its railroad and insurance operations.

Quarterly operating profit for the Omaha, Nebraska-based insurance and investment conglomerate probably fell to $3.73 billion from $4.24 billion.

Net income probably rose to $5.59 billion from $5.16 billion, helped by a gain from the swap of Procter & Gamble stock for the Duracell battery business.

Buffett said insurance underwriting suffered from hailstorm claims. Railroads have been hurt by declining oil shipments.

Buffett disclosed the results at Berkshire's annual meeting. Final results are due on May 6.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in Omaha, Nebraska; Editing by Nick Zieminski)