Buffett's firm reports 17 percent fall in 4Q earnings because of drop in value of investments

MarketsAssociated Press

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s fourth quarter profit slid 17 percent because of declines in the paper value of its investments and derivative contracts.

Warren Buffett's company released its latest results Saturday along with his letter to shareholders.

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Berkshire's quarterly net income declined to $4.16 billion, or $2,529 per Class A share, on $48.3 billion revenue. That's down from $4.99 billion, or $3.035 per share, on $47 billion revenue last year.

The biggest factor was investment and derivative gains of $192 million this year compared to $1.2 billion last year.

Buffett says operating earnings, which exclude investments, are often a better measure. Those were $3.96 billion, or $2,412 per share, up from $3.78 billion, or $2,297 per share.

The four analysts surveyed by FactSet expected operating earnings per of $2,655.09 on average.