Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Reports $44 Billion Loss as Portfolio Value Falls

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Warren Buffett’s company reported a $43.76 billion loss in the second quarter as the paper value of its investments plummeted and he bought significantly fewer stocks, but Berkshire Hathaway’s many operating companies generally performed well.

Berkshire said Saturday that a largely unrealized $53 billion drop in the value of its investments forced the company to report a loss of nearly $44 billion, or $29,754 per Class A share. That’s less than $28.1 billion, or $18,488 per Class A share, a year ago.

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Buffett has long said he believes Berkshire’s operating results are a better measure of the company’s performance because it excludes investment gains and losses, which can vary widely from quarter to quarter. By that measure, Berkshire’s earnings had increased significantly to $9.28 billion, or $6,312.49 per Class A share, compared to $6.69 billion last year, or $4,399.92 per Class A share.

The four analysts surveyed by FactSet expected Berkshire to report operating income per Class A share of $4,741.64.

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In addition to investments, Berkshire owns more than 90 companies. Berkshire said corporate profits were up at all of its major units, including its insurance companies, major utilities and BNSF rail.

Berkshire said it was at $105.4 billion in cash at the end of the quarter, which had changed little from the $106 billion it reported at the end of the first quarter.

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That indicated that Buffett didn’t buy as many shares in the second quarter, even though it reported investing several billion in Occidental Petroleum stock. Berkshire spent more than $51 billion on equities in the first three months of the year.

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