Rising stocks fuel huge profit for Buffett’s Berkshire

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Feb 22 (Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Saturday posted a 23% decrease in quarterly operating profit, while soaring stock prices boosted net results and enabled the conglomerate to smash its old record for full-year earnings.

Fourth-quarter operating profit totaled $4.42 billion, or approximately $2,720 per Class A share, down from $5.72 billion, or about $3,484 per share, a year earlier, hurt by a loss from insurance underwriting.

Berkshire also posted quarterly net income of $29.16 billion, compared with a net loss of $25.39 billion a year earlier, reflecting huge unrealized gains in its common stock holdings.

For all of 2019, net income totaled $81.42 billion, topping the record $44.94 billion reported for 2017, when Berkshire benefited from that year’s reduction in the U.S. corporate tax rate.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; EDiting by Giles
Elgood

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