Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway rises premarket after group posts record income

February 26, 2024 5:57 AM EST
(Updated - February 26, 2024 6:26 AM EST) -- Shares in Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRKb) jumped in premarket U.S. trading on Monday after Warren Buffett's investment giant posted record operating income in 2023.

Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire reported an all-time high operating profit of $37.4 billion in 2023, buoyed in part by a 28% jump in fourth-quarter income to $8.48 billion.

Powering the gains were solid returns from Berkshire-owned auto insurer Geico, where full-year net underwriting earnings came in at $5.43 billion. Elevated borrowing costs also helped generate $6.1 billion in interest income at the company's insurance division, above the $5.5 billion it brought in from stock dividends.

In the fourth quarter, Berkshire, whose decisions are often closely watched by investors, was a net seller of stocks as Buffett struggled to find attractively-priced deals. Berkshire's cash pile swelled to a record $167.6 billion.

The 93-year old Buffett, meanwhile, moved to reassure investors that Berkshire is "built to last" through even the worst financial disasters. He added that Greg Abel, Berkshire's Vice Chairman and designated successor, was "in all respects ready to be CEO [...] tomorrow."

But in his annual shareholder letter released over the weekend, Buffett noted that Berkshire's share price will likely not see any "eye-popping" performances due to its already massive size. He said that only a handful of firms are capable of "moving the needle" at Berkshire, "and they have been endlessly picked over by us and by others."

Buffett also took time to honor his long-time colleague Charlie Munger, who passed away in November at the age of 99. Buffett called him the "architect" of Berkshire.

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