Buffett's Bullish Buffet

Buffett's Bullish Buffet

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  • Berkshire Hathaway reported a significant increase in operating earnings for the fourth quarter, fueled by substantial gains in its insurance segment, while also noting a record-high cash reserve. Operating earnings for the quarter reached $8.481 billion, marking a 28% rise compared to the same period last year. This robust performance contributed to full-year 2023 operating earnings of $37.350 billion, up 17% from the previous year. 

  • Berkshire Hathaway's Class A shares have surged approximately 16% this year, with Geico, the auto insurer, reporting a profitable year driven by premium rate increases and reduced claims in 2023. While Geico thrived, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) experienced a 14% decrease in full-year net earnings, dropping to $5.087 billion from $5.946 billion in the prior year. Despite a surge in insurance underwriting to $848 million in the fourth quarter, operating earnings from railroads and utilities saw declines, reflecting the conglomerate's diverse business landscape. Operating earnings from railroads fell to $1.355 billion, down from $1.469 billion a year ago, while utilities and energy earnings dropped to $632 million from $739 million in the prior year.

Why it matters

Overall, Berkshire Hathaway's earnings more than doubled in the quarter compared to the previous year, totaling $37.57 billion. However, the company advised investors to focus on the long-term performance of its operating businesses rather than short-term fluctuations in investment gains.


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