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