BRK-A - Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

NYSE - NYSE Delayed price. Currency in USD
312,619.00
-11,682.00 (-3.60%)
At close: 4:00PM EST
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous close324,301.00
Open320,480.00
Bid313,600.00 x 900
Ask314,127.50 x 900
Day's range312,501.00 - 322,292.00
52-week range294,511.00 - 347,400.00
Volume549
Avg. volume267
Market cap507.628B
Beta (5Y monthly)0.85
PE ratio (TTM)6.27
EPS (TTM)N/A
Earnings dateN/A
Forward dividend & yieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-dividend dateN/A
1y target estN/A
  • Berkshire Hathaway B Stock Falls 3%
    Investing.com

    Berkshire Hathaway B Stock Falls 3%

    Investing.com - Berkshire Hathaway B (NYSE:BRKb) Stock fell by 3.09% to trade at $209.33 by 10:31 (15:31 GMT) on Thursday on the NYSE exchange.

  • 5 great quotes from Warren Buffett's latest annual letter
    Yahoo Finance

    5 great quotes from Warren Buffett's latest annual letter

    Warren Buffett quotes from his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

  • Berkshire (BRK.B) Q4 Earnings Miss on Poor Segmental Results
    Zacks

    Berkshire (BRK.B) Q4 Earnings Miss on Poor Segmental Results

    Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) Q4 results reflect soft performance at the Railroad, Utilities and Energy segment and higher expenses.

  • Bloomberg

    Warren Buffett Expects Todd Combs to Run Geico Unit Only Temporarily

    (Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett doesn’t expect Todd Combs, one of his two key investing deputies, to be at auto insurer Geico long.Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. tapped Combs in December to become chief executive officer of its Geico unit. He replaced Bill Roberts, who became vice chairman and said he plans to leave the company by the end of 2020. Combs, 49, is the insurer’s third CEO in the past several years.“Todd is there and I hope very much that he’s not there very long,” Buffett said Monday in an interview on CNBC. “Our intention always is to promote from within. We would hope to pick out the right person at Geico.”Tony Nicely quietly stepped down as Geico’s CEO in 2018 after running the insurer for decades. He was replaced by Roberts, who later told Berkshire he would soon retire.Combs and Buffett’s other top investing deputy, Ted Weschler, haven’t limited their Berkshire responsibilities to picking stocks. Combs also helped with the formation of Berkshire’s health-care venture with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Amazon.com Inc., and Weschler helped Buffett negotiate on deals including the purchase of German motorcycle-equipment retailer Detlev Louis Motorradvertriebs GmbH.To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Chiglinsky in New York at kchiglinsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Daniel TaubFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • One word used with coronavirus explains why stocks are suddenly cratering
    Yahoo Finance

    One word used with coronavirus explains why stocks are suddenly cratering

    Investors finally realize the coronavirus is a big deal.

  • Warren Buffett calls coronavirus outbreak 'scary stuff,' but says he won't be selling stocks
    Reuters

    Warren Buffett calls coronavirus outbreak 'scary stuff,' but says he won't be selling stocks

    Speaking on CNBC, Buffett said investors with a 10- to 20-year time horizon and focused on companies' earnings power will fare well in stocks, and that the outbreak has "not changed" his long-term outlook. "It is scary stuff," Buffett said. Buffett, however, said long-term investors should not get caught up in daily headlines, and that Berkshire would "certainly be more inclined" to buy stocks than on Friday.

  • Bloomberg

    Warren Buffett Says Reaching for Yield Is ‘Stupid,’ But a Human Impulse

    (Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett criticized companies including life insurers that respond to low interest rates by taking more risks, even as he acknowledged that the urge to seek better returns is normal.“Reaching for yield is really stupid, but it’s very human,” Buffett said Monday in an interview on CNBC. “People are reaching for yield, there’s no question about that. And that’s stupid and it has consequences over time, but it’s very human.”Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., was asked about life insurance companies that sell products, such as annuities, that promise higher returns than the rates the companies can earn on investments. The push for yield sometimes persuades executives to make risky changes, leading to the boom in leveraged loans and the weakening of covenants, he said.Buffett, in his annual letter to shareholders Saturday, discussed his view on repurchases and corporate governance. The 89-year-old investor said he plans to allow shareholders to direct questions to his key deputies, Ajit Jain and Greg Abel, at this year’s annual meeting, giving a greater voice to two people seen as top contenders to replace him when he steps down as CEO.What Bloomberg Intelligence Says:“Warren Buffett’s annual letter supports our view that Berkshire’s next CEO will be one of two vice chairmen -- Ajit Jain or Greg Abel. 4Q share repurchase was above our expectation, but we believe buybacks will stay limited.”--Matthew Palazola, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence\--Read the report hereOn Monday, Buffett was also asked about his bets on some of the major airlines, including Delta Air Lines Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. He said it was “very unlikely” that Berkshire would buy an airline outright, partly because it’s such a regulated industry.To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Chiglinsky in New York at kchiglinsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Steve Dickson, Daniel TaubFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Warren Buffett explains why CEOs prefer ‘cocker spaniels’ over ‘pit bulls’: Morning Brief
    Yahoo Finance

    Warren Buffett explains why CEOs prefer ‘cocker spaniels’ over ‘pit bulls’: Morning Brief

    Top news and what to watch in the markets on Monday, February 24, 2020.

  • Berkshire Hathaway B Earnings Beat, Revenue Misses In Q4
    Investing.com

    Berkshire Hathaway B Earnings Beat, Revenue Misses In Q4

    Investing.com - Berkshire Hathaway B (NYSE:BRKb) reported on Saturday fourth quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecasts and revenue that fell short of expectations.

  • Buffett Extols Value of Stock Bets in a Year Without Big Deals
    Bloomberg

    Buffett Extols Value of Stock Bets in a Year Without Big Deals

    (Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett sought to justify the importance of his $248 billion stock portfolio, saying the investments are more than just “dalliances” with the companies he takes stakes in.The billionaire investor spent a portion of his annual shareholder letter, released Saturday, detailing how an accounting difference between his stock picks and his outright business takeovers creates a “standout omission” in Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s financial results. The conglomerate’s equity investments will produce capital gains that are at least equal to Berkshire’s share of the individual companies’ retained earnings, Buffett argued.“Overall, the retained earnings of our investees are certain to be of major importance in the growth of Berkshire’s value,” Buffett said in the letter. For its equity investments, “only the dividends that Berkshire receives are recorded in the operating earnings we report. The retained earnings? They’re working hard and creating much added value, but not in a way that deposits those gains directly into Berkshire’s reported earnings.”The value of Buffett’s equity portfolio last year increased about 44%, helped by the best year for Apple Inc. stock since 2009 and gains on holdings such as Bank of America Corp. and Coca-Cola Co. His own Berkshire shares didn’t fare quite as well, posting their worst annual underperformance relative to the S&P 500 Index in a decade.Buffett has been hunting for ways to deploy his $128 billion cash pile to generate higher returns, but has struggled to find a massive deal amid “sky-high” prices. He ended up taking another path in 2019, spending a total of $5 billion on repurchases and being an overall net buyer of the stocks of other companies.Berkshires stock investments shouldn’t be seen as “dalliances to be terminated because of downgrades by ‘the Street,’ an earnings ‘miss,’ expected Federal Reserve actions, possible political developments, forecasts by economists or whatever else might be the subject du jour,” Buffett said in the letter. The equity stakes represent “an assembly of companies that we partly own and that, on a weighted basis, are earning more than 20% on the net tangible equity capital required to run their businesses.”Click here for live commentary and analysis of Buffett’s television interview with CNBC, starting Monday at 6 a.m. ETHere are five other takeaways from Buffett’s annual letter and Berkshire’s fourth-quarter earnings report:1\. Berkshire Gives Preview of Life After BuffettBuffett waited until the very last page of his annual letter to reveal a big change: Investors will be hearing more from top lieutenants Ajit Jain and Greg Abel. The pair, seen as the top contenders to eventually replace Berkshire’s 89-year-old CEO, have often remained behind the scenes, tending to Buffett’s vast collection of businesses. But a quirk of last year’s annual Berkshire meeting, during which Jain and Abel both answered some shareholder questions, will become more formalized at the 2020 event.Buffett said in the letter that he had received suggestions that Jain and Abel “be given more exposure at the meeting. That change makes great sense.” He gave no further clues about his eventual replacement, and no indication that he or Charlie Munger, his 96-year-old business partner, would step away any time soon.Jain and Abel are “the clear-cut front-runners,” said Matthew Palazola, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.2\. Buffett Spends Record $2.2 Billion on BuybacksThe Oracle of Omaha kicked his stock-buyback program into high gear, spending $2.2 billion on repurchases in the last three months of 2019, the most ever in a single quarter -- and said he’s looking to buy even more.Berkshire, which loosened its repurchase policy almost two years ago after being stymied on the dealmaking front, has since taken a cautious approach to buybacks, acquiring only $6.3 billion of stock. Even with the increase in repurchases, Berkshire’s pile of cash hovered close to a record.The repurchases should make it easier for Buffett’s eventual successor to make additional buybacks, according to Tom Russo, who oversees more than $10 billion, including Berkshire shares, at Gardner Russo & Gardner LLC. “I wanted them to have no uncertainty, for whoever succeeds both Charlie and Warren, that the share buyback is a perfectly legitimate and highly valued tool to deliver growth in intrinsic value on a per-share basis,” Russo said.3\. Berkshire’s Earnings Hurt by Insurance LossesBerkshire’s operating earnings fell to $4.42 billion in the fourth quarter, down 23% from a year earlier, driven by underwriting losses at its namesake reinsurance group, which was hurt by typhoons in Japan, wildfires in California and Australia, and widening losses at its business writing retroactive reinsurance contracts.Buffett’s company did better with its BNSF railroad, which posted a 3.8% gain in profit, just shy of record earnings in the previous three months, as a decline in expenses helped counter falling revenue across shipments of products such as coal, consumer items and agricultural goods.A bigger problem for the conglomerate is Kraft Heinz Co., which counts Berkshire as its largest shareholder and had a tumultuous 2019, with writedowns, management shakeups and downgrades to junk. Berkshire carries its Kraft Heinz investment on its balance sheet at $13.8 billion, a figure unchanged since 2018’s fourth quarter, even as the market price of the stake dropped to $10.5 billion at the end of last year.4\. Buffett Chides CEOs for Wanting Cocker SpanielsBuffett often uses his annual letter to talk not just about Berkshire, but also the wider corporate environment. This year, Buffett, who’s served as a director at 21 publicly traded firms over the years, used a portion of his missive to complain that too many companies seek board members who won’t challenge a CEO’s decisions.“When seeking directors, CEOs don’t look for pit bulls,” Buffett said in Saturday’s letter. “It’s the cocker spaniel that gets taken home.”Buffett’s discussion of corporate-governance issues also touched on board diversity. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which counts Berkshire as an investor, said last month that it won’t take a company public unless there’s at least one board member who’s not a white male. Adding female directors “remains a work in progress,” Buffett said in this year’s letter. At his company, three of the board’s 16 members are women.5\. Buffett Avoids U.S. Politics in Letter to InvestorsBuffett stayed out of the political fray in this year’s letter. He didn’t mention the words “election,” “Trump,” or any Democrat running for president.The billionaire has trod carefully over the years as the U.S. has become more politically polarized. His 2019 letter focused on overall prosperity in the U.S., saying that America’s success over the decades has been achieved in a bipartisan manner.Buffett has been known to campaign for candidates, including Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. He’s said more recently, though, that he prefers not to use his position at Berkshire to promote his political views -- or to impose his political opinions on Berkshire’s business activities.To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Chiglinsky in New York at kchiglinsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Daniel Taub, James LuddenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Rising stocks fuel record profit for Buffett's Berkshire; operating profit disappoints
    Reuters

    Rising stocks fuel record profit for Buffett's Berkshire; operating profit disappoints

    In his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, Buffett defended Berkshire's foray into stocks, which comes amid a four-year drought since its last major acquisition that has left Berkshire sitting on $128 billion of cash. Berkshire did step up repurchases of its own stock, buying back roughly $2.2 billion in the quarter. "I am delighted with the increased commitment to share repurchases," said Thomas Russo, a partner at Gardner, Russo & Gardner, which invests $13 billion, of which 13% is in Berkshire.

  • Bloomberg

    Cash-Rich Berkshire Embraces the Idea of Life After Buffett

    (Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett waited until the very last page of his annual shareholder letter to reveal a big change: Shareholders will be hearing more from top lieutenants Ajit Jain and Greg Abel.The pair, seen as the top contenders to eventually replace Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s 89-year-old chief executive officer, have often remained behind the scenes, tending to Buffett’s collection of insurers and its array of businesses that span from energy companies to the Dairy Queen fast-food chain. But a quirk of last year’s annual Berkshire meeting, during which Jain and Abel both answered some shareholder questions, will become more formalized at the 2020 event.“I’ve had suggestions from shareholders, media and board members that Ajit Jain and Greg Abel -- our two key operating managers -- be given more exposure at the meeting. That change makes great sense,” Buffett said in the letter Saturday, adding that investors can direct questions to the pair. “They are outstanding individuals, both as managers and as human beings, and you should hear more from them.”The billionaire investor’s annual letter -- scoured by investors for clues on succession and Buffett’s outlook for the $560 billion conglomerate -- gave no further clues on his eventual replacement, and no indication he’d step away soon after more than five decades at the helm. But the next CEO will need to figure out how to deploy the cash Berkshire rakes in every quarter, a responsibility Buffett finds increasingly challenging because of Berkshire’s “huge and ever-growing sums of money.”No DealLast year, Buffett failed to find a major deal to deploy all that cash -- a $128 billion pile by the end of 2019 -- and help supercharge Berkshire’s growth.“The opportunities to make major acquisitions possessing our required attributes are rare,” Buffett said. “Far more often, a fickle stock market serves up opportunities for us to buy large, but non-controlling, positions in publicly traded companies that meet our standards.”Both Jain and Abel have proven themselves as dealmakers before. Buffett praised Jain in this year’s letter for striking the 2012 deal for Guard Insurance Group, run by Sy Foguel, with the company’s premium volume having climbed 379% since the purchase. Abel, meanwhile, built the energy empire that now has footholds in states including Nevada, Oregon and California, and operations in the U.K.Giving the pair more speaking time is “very revealing and important,” James Armstrong, who manages about $825 million, including Berkshire shares, as president of Henry H. Armstrong Associates. “Greg and Ajit are now formally running these giant groups, which are the heart of the company, and I think it’s important that the stockholder base as well as the general public and the media become familiar with them.”Ajit JainAge: 68Role: Vice Chairman of Insurance OperationsJoined Berkshire: 1986Known for: Striking unique insurance dealsBuffett says: “I don’t know what his best deal was. I know what my best deal was: It was hiring him.”Greg AbelAge: 57Role: Vice Chairman of Non-Insurance OperationsJoined Berkshire: 1992Known for: Building out Berkshire’s energy empireBuffett says: Abel is an “outstanding” CEO and an “extraordinary” managerBuffett is struggling to maintain the stock performance that’s made him famous. Last year, Berkshire shares notched their worst underperformance versus the S&P 500 in a decade, and the stock is lagging behind the index this year too. That’s partly due to a dearth of major deals, leaving his cash hoard at close to a record level.Net SellerBerkshire took a more cautious approach to the broader stock market in the fourth quarter, being a net seller of equities such as Wells Fargo & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Still, the company ramped up its appetite for its own stock, spending a record $2.2 billion buying back Berkshire shares. Buffett even asked investors to contact Berkshire if they went to sell their stock.The letter was also notable for what it lacked: He steered clear of political commentary, a marked shift from his letter that came out in 2016, another election year, when he chided politicians for their gloomy outlook on the U.S.“Tonally, this letter felt more business-like,” Jim Shanahan, an analyst at Edward Jones, said in an interview. “There just wasn’t quite as much of the folksy wisdom and the humor that we’ve come to expect.”One order of business Buffett discussed was how his enormous Berkshire stake will be apportioned after he’s gone. He estimates it’ll take between 12 to 15 years for his Berkshire shares to move into the market after his death, but wanted to reassure investors about the future of the company once it’s no longer run by the billionaire investor and business partner Charlie Munger, who turned 96 this year. His confidence, he said, stems from Berkshire’s top managers, the directors who will serve as “guardians” of the culture and the structure of his sprawling conglomerate.“Berkshire shareholders need not worry: Your company is 100% prepared for our departure,” Buffett said.To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Chiglinsky in New York at kchiglinsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Daniel Taub, James LuddenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Buffett defends Berkshire stock push, reassures on future as profit smashes record
    Reuters

    Buffett defends Berkshire stock push, reassures on future as profit smashes record

    Warren Buffett on Saturday forcefully defended Berkshire Hathaway Inc's decision to invest heavily in stocks of companies such as Apple Inc as he labors through a four-year drought since his last major acquisition of a company. Buffett, 89, also used his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders to assure they should not worry about the future of the company, which is "100% prepared" for when he and 96-year-old Vice Chairman Charlie Munger are no longer around. "I do think it's on the right path," said James Armstrong, president of Henry H. Armstrong Associates in Pittsburgh, which invests one-fourth of its assets in Berkshire.

  • Buffett calls for more accountability for corporate directors
    Reuters

    Buffett calls for more accountability for corporate directors

    In his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc shareholders, Buffett said pay for outside directors has "soared" to levels that might threaten their independence, sometimes reaching $250,000 to $300,000 for two weeks work, while "generous" age limits ensure "fabulous" job security. Buffett said this can make even "independent" directors resist challenging bad decisions by CEOs, especially in takeovers. "When seeking directors, CEOs don't look for pit bulls," Buffett wrote.

  • Buffett Touts Wind Energy Following Climate-Change Criticism
    Bloomberg

    Buffett Touts Wind Energy Following Climate-Change Criticism

    (Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett, long under pressure from activists to detail how climate change affects his businesses, used part of his annual letter to shareholders to highlight how wind power generated by a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. utility shows the company is reducing its reliance on fossil fuels.Buffett’s letter, with topics ranging from share repurchases to the makeup of corporate boards, detailed how Berkshire Hathaway Energy -- one of the “lead dogs” of Berkshire’s non-insurance businesses -- has been able to keep rates lower than its competitors in Iowa, partially because of its ability to generate electricity from wind.“Of course, wind is intermittent, and our blades in Iowa turn only part of the time,” the billionaire investor said in the letter, released Saturday. “In certain periods, when the air is still, we look to our non-wind generating capacity to secure the electricity we need. At opposite times, we sell the excess power that wind provides us to other utilities,” which “supplants their need for a carbon resource -- coal, say, or natural gas.”Companies are facing mounting pressure to detail their environmental impacts. Earlier this year, BlackRock Inc.’s Larry Fink said climate change is likely to upend global finance sooner than expected. It’s not the first time Buffett has cited the Iowa wind push: At Berkshire’s annual meeting last year, he brought it up when asked how his conglomerate scores on environmental, social and governance factors.By next year, Berkshire plans to have achieved wind self-sufficiency in Iowa -- something that’s helped lure technology companies to the state. Three of the five largest Berkshire Hathaway Energy customers are now high-tech giants, Buffett said.“I believe their decisions to site plants in Iowa were in part based upon BHE’s ability to deliver renewable, low-cost energy,” he said.To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Chiglinsky in New York at kchiglinsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Daniel TaubFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway was responsible for 1.5% of the taxes paid by corporate America in 2019
    Yahoo Finance

    Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway was responsible for 1.5% of the taxes paid by corporate America in 2019

    From Warren Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

  • Here are Warren Buffett's top 15 stock holdings
    Yahoo Finance

    Here are Warren Buffett's top 15 stock holdings

    These are not stock market wagers, Buffett says.

  • Warren Buffett reveals a big change to this year's annual shareholder meeting
    Yahoo Finance

    Warren Buffett reveals a big change to this year's annual shareholder meeting

    From Warren Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

  • Bloomberg

    Berkshire Unit’s Fire Leads to Insurance Loss at, Uh, Berkshire

    (Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett has built a sprawling $560 billion conglomerate with footholds in insurance, energy and railroads. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s reach is so wide, in fact, that its businesses sometimes bump into each other.Buffett, in his annual letter to shareholders, recounted a story about a September fire at a French plant owned by Lubrizol, a maker of oil additives. The fire damaged the property and disrupted business, causing losses that would be lessened by insurance coverage. But, Buffett said, there’s a catch.“One of the largest insurers of Lubrizol was a company owned by ... uh, Berkshire,” the billionaire investor said in the letter, released Saturday. “In Matthew 6:3, the Bible instructs us to ‘Let not the left hand know what the right hand doeth.’ Your chairman has clearly behaved as ordered.”To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Chiglinsky in New York at kchiglinsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Daniel Taub, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Warren Buffett shares an unfortunate story that reflects Berkshire Hathaway's incredible scope
    Yahoo Finance

    Warren Buffett shares an unfortunate story that reflects Berkshire Hathaway's incredible scope

    From Warren Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

  • Why Warren Buffett wants you to ignore Berkshire's $53.7 billion gain on stocks
    Yahoo Finance

    Why Warren Buffett wants you to ignore Berkshire's $53.7 billion gain on stocks

    From Warren Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

  • Bloomberg

    Buffett Spends Record $2.2 Billion Buying Berkshire Shares

    (Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett kicked his stock-buyback program into high gear, spending $2.2 billion on repurchases in the last three months of 2019, the most ever in a single quarter -- and he’s looking to buy even more.Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which loosened its repurchase policy almost two years ago after being stymied on the dealmaking front, has since taken a cautious approach to buybacks, acquiring only $6.3 billion of stock. In the fourth quarter, Buffett bought shares every month, and has no plans to slow down, if the price is right.“Shareholders having at least $20 million in value of A or B shares and an inclination to sell shares to Berkshire may wish to have their broker contact Berkshire’s Mark Millard,” Buffett said in his annual letter to shareholders Saturday. “We request that you phone Mark between 8:00-8:30 a.m. or 3:00-3:30 p.m. Central Time, calling only if you are ready to sell.”Even as Buffett ramped up his repurchases, Berkshire’s massive pile of cash hovered close to a record, totaling $128 billion at the end of 2019. Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and chief executive officer, has sought to redeploy those funds into higher-returning deals or stock purchases, but has been stymied by what he’s said are “sky-high” prices for good businesses.Buffett spent a portion of his annual letter reassuring shareholders about the future of the company once it’s no longer run by the billionaire investor and his business partner, Charlie Munger, who turned 96 this year.“Berkshire shareholders need not worry: Your company is 100% prepared for our departure,” Buffett said.At Berkshire’s annual meeting in May, shareholders will be able to submit questions to be answered by lieutenants Ajit Jain or Greg Abel, Berkshire vice chairmen who are considered top contenders to someday replace Buffett. They answered a few investors questions at last year’s meeting.Berkshire’s operating earnings fell to $4.42 billion in the fourth quarter, down 23% from a year earlier, driven by underwriting losses at its namesake reinsurance group, which was hurt by typhoons in Japan, wildfires in California and Australia, and widening losses at its business writing retroactive reinsurance contracts.Berkshire’s Class A shares last year underperformed the S&P 500 Index by the widest margin since 2009. The stock has gained just 1.1% this year.Also in Berkshire’s 2019 annual report, released alongside Buffett’s letter Saturday:Kraft Heinz Co., which counts Berkshire as its largest shareholder, had a tumultuous 2019, with writedowns, management shakeups and downgrades to junk. Buffett’s company carries its Kraft Heinz investment on its balance sheet at $13.8 billion, a figure unchanged since 2018’s fourth quarter, even as the market price of the stake dropped to $10.5 billion at the end of last year.Berkshire’s BNSF railroad posted a 3.8% gain in profit in the fourth quarter, just shy of record earnings in the previous three months, as a decline in expenses helped counter falling revenue across shipments of products such as coal, consumer items and agricultural goods. BNSF posted a regulatory filing Friday night, on the eve of the release of Buffett’s annual letter, giving investors a sneak peek of results.(Updates with Buffett comment in third paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Chiglinsky in New York at kchiglinsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Daniel Taub, James LuddenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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