Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Berkshire Hathaway posts $43.8 billion loss as stock holdings tumble

Global Aug 06, 2022 12:15
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett walks through the exhibit hall as shareholders gather to hear from the billionaire investor at Berkshire Hathaway Inc's annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Scott

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) -The slide in U.S. stock prices punished Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKa) Inc's bottom line in the second quarter, as the conglomerate run by billionaire Warren Buffett on Saturday reported a $43.8 billion loss.

Berkshire nevertheless generated nearly $9.3 billion of operating profit, as gains from reinsurance and the BNSF railroad offset fresh losses at the Geico car insurer, where parts shortages and higher used vehicle prices boosted accident claims.

Rising interest rates and dividend payouts helped insurance businesses generate more money from investments, while the strengthening U.S. dollar boosted profit from European and Japanese debt investments.

Despite the huge net loss, "the results show Berkshire's resilience," said James Shanahan, an Edward Jones & Co analyst who rates Berkshire "neutral."

"Businesses are performing well despite higher interest rates, inflation pressures and geopolitical concerns," he said. "It gives me confidence in the company if there is a recession."

Berkshire also slowed purchases of its stocks, including its own, though it still had $105.4 billion of cash it could deploy.

Investors closely watch Berkshire because of Buffett's reputation, and because results from the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate's dozens of operating units often mirror broader economic trends.

Those units include steady earners such as its namesake energy company, several industrial companies, and familiar consumer brands such as Dairy Queen, Duracell, Fruit of the Loom and See's Candies.

"Berkshire is a microcosm of the broader economy," said Cathy Seifert, a CFRA Research analyst with a "hold" rating on Berkshire. "Many businesses are enjoying improved demand, but they are not immune to higher input costs from inflation."

DISRUPTIONS PERSIST

In its quarterly report, Berkshire said "significant disruptions of supply chains and higher costs have persisted" as new COVID-19 variants emerge and because of geopolitical conflicts including Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

But it said direct losses have not been material, despite higher costs for materials, shipping and labor.

Net results suffered from Berkshire's $53 billion of losses from investments and derivatives, including declines of more than 21% in three major holdings: Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) and American Express Co (NYSE:AXP).

Accounting rules require Berkshire to report the losses with its results even if it buys and sells nothing.

Buffett urges investors to ignore the fluctuations, and Berkshire will make money if stocks rise over time.

In 2020, for example, Berkshire lost nearly $50 billion in the first quarter as the pandemic took hold, but made $42.5 billion for the full year.

"It shows the fickle nature of markets," said Tom Russo, a partner at Gardner, Russo & Quinn in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who invests more than $8 billion, of which 17% is in Berkshire. "It's business as usual at Berkshire Hathaway."

The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 16% in the quarter.

GEICO LOSSES

Berkshire's quarterly net loss was equal to $29,754 per Class A share, and compared with a net profit of $28.1 billion, or $18,488 per Class A share, a year earlier.

The $9.28 billion of operating profit, or about $6,326 per Class A share, rose 39% from $6.69 billion a year earlier.

It included $1.06 billion of currency gains on foreign debt. Revenue increased 10% to $76.2 billion.

Geico suffered a $487 million pre-tax underwriting loss, its fourth straight quarterly loss.

"All auto insurers have been dealing with inflation in claims costs," Seifert said. "Geico has been less successful than some at passing through rate increases and retaining customers."

The loss was more than offset by a $976 million pre-tax gain in property and casualty reinsurance, and a 56% jump in after-tax in insurance investment income to $1.91 billion.

Profit rose 10% at BNSF, with higher revenue per car from fuel surcharges partially offsetting lower freight volumes, while profit from Berkshire Hathaway Energy rose 4%.

Berkshire repurchased just $1 billion of its own stock, down from $3.2 billion in the first quarter, and compared with $51.7 billion in 2020 and 2021.

Its $6.15 billion of stock purchases fell from $51.1 billion in the first quarter, when it took major stakes in oil companies Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX) and Occidental Petroleum Corp (NYSE:OXY).

Berkshire Hathaway posts $43.8 billion loss as stock holdings tumble
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email