Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway profit nearly doubles in third quarter

Warren Buffett’s sprawling Berkshire Hathaway reported higher quarterly earnings on Saturday, boosted by its insurance underwriting policies and lower taxes.

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Operating earnings for the multinational conglomerate, whose earning power is largely concentrated in the insurance sector, jumped to $6.88 billion from $3.44 billion in the year-ago period.

On Wednesday, Barclays’ managing director Jay Gelb forecast that Berkshire would show “enormous” net income of about $19 billion – close to a record for any company – largely because of unrecognized gains in its equity portfolio. Berkshire reported net earnings, including realized and unrealized gains and losses from investments, of $18.5 billion, compared to $4.1 billion from the year-ago period.

Insurance underwriting in the third quarter was $441 million, compared to $1.439 last year, when several devastating hurricanes that swept through the country hurt results.

Last year, Berkshire reported net earnings of $44.9 billion. Almost two-thirds of that – $29 billion – stemmed from President Trump’s business-friendly tax overhaul that was signed into law in December.

A large bulk of Berkshire, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, includes stock holdings. Although its biggest stake is in Apple, other notable names include Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola and American Express. As of Sept. 30, Berkshire owned a $57.6 billion stake in Apple.

In the 1960s, when Berkshire Hathaway first began trading publicly, shares cost about $11. Today, it’s at $301,785, for a gain of 2 million percent.