(Bloomberg) – Warren Buffett’s capital deployment machine pulled back on several fronts earlier in the year as the billionaire took a more cautious stance on stocks.
Net sales of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shares were the second-highest in nearly five years in the first quarter, and the conglomerate of which the billionaire is chief executive officer slowed its buyback pace, according to a regulatory filing filed on Saturday. This helped Berkshire’s cash stacks jump 5.2% from three months earlier, to a record $ 145.4 billion in late March.
Buffett has struggled to keep up with Berkshire’s ever-bubbling cash flow for the past several years. This resulted in him buying back significant amounts of Berkshire stock and pulling leverage on capital that he had previously avoided in favor of large acquisitions or stock purchases. It set a record in the third quarter of last year, snapping up $ 9 billion worth of shares, but slowed that pace in the first quarter with buybacks of $ 6.6 billion.
Still, Berkshire’s businesses had a strong quarter. The profit reached the second highest data level since 2010. The operating profit of approximately 7.02 billion US dollars was only exceeded in the third quarter of 2019. The profits were borne in part by the company’s insurers and its group of manufacturers, service providers and retailers.
Net income, which reflects Berkshire’s $ 282 billion stock portfolio, climbed to $ 11.7 billion in profit for the quarter, compared to a loss of $ 49.7 billion a year earlier Pandemic began in the US and stocks collapsed.
Despite buybacks that didn’t hit Buffett’s quarterly record, the billionaire has continued targeting Berkshire’s own stock since late March, making buybacks of at least $ 1.25 billion through April 22.
Berkshire Class A shares rose nearly 11% in the first quarter, outpacing the S&P 500’s 5.8% gain over the same period.
The 90-year-old Buffett and his longtime business partner Charlie Munger, 97, will hold their annual get-together in Berkshire on Saturday. The couple will spend hours asking questions from investors during the virtual event.
If the meeting starts here, follow the TopLive blog.
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