OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Warren Buffett’s company recorded a $25 billion loss in the fourth quarter because of a big drop in the paper value of several of its stock investments.
Buffett said Saturday that Berkshire Hathaway’s businesses are performing well overall, but it has to record the market value of its stock holdings at the end of each quarter and Buffett has struggled to find attractive acquisitions recently. Berkshire lost $25.4 billion, or $10.31 per Class B share, in the quarter. That’s down from last year’s profit of $32.6 billion, or $13.19 per B share.
Buffett has long said Berkshire’s operating earnings offer a better view of quarterly performance because they exclude investments and derivatives, which can vary widely.
By that measure, Berkshire reported operating earnings of $5.7 billion, or about $2.32 per B share. That’s up from $3.3 billion, or about $1.35 per share.
The five analysts surveyed by FactSet expected Berkshire to report operating earnings of $9.58 per share for the full year. Berkshire reported operating earnings of $24.8 billion, or about $10.05 per B share.