- Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reported first-quarter earnings on Saturday.
- Buffett’s company sold $10.4 billion of stock on a net basis, and spent $4.4 billion on buybacks.
- Berkshire’s operating earnings jumped as insurance strength offset railroad and utility weakness.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway pared its stock portfolio in the first quarter, the company’s earnings revealed on Saturday.
The famed investor’s conglomerate dumped $13.3 billion of stocks, and only bought $2.9 billion worth, meaning it sold $10.4 billion of equities on a net basis.
On the other hand, Buffett’s company ramped up its stock buybacks. It spent $4.4 billion repurchasing its shares last quarter, marking its biggest outlay since 2021.
Still, Berkshire’s stock sales fueled a $2 billion increase in its cash pile during the first three months of this year, to $130.6 billion — its highest level in more than a year.
Berkshire’s operating earnings jumped 13% year-on-year to $8.1 billion, as larger underwriting profits and investment income from its insurance businesses offset slimmer profits from BNSF Railway and Berkshire Hathaway Energy.
Buffett’s company received a boost from Pilot Flying J. It purchased another 41.4% of the truck-stop chain in January for $8.2 billion, increasing its stake to 80%. Pilot contributed $9.5 billion of revenue and $83 million of net earnings to Berkshire in the two months ending March 31.
Despite its big-ticket acquisition, Berkshire has slowed its overall spending this year. It piled a record $68 billion into stocks last year, or $34 billion on a net basis. It also completed its $12 billion purchase of insurer Alleghany, and repurchased nearly $8 billion of stock in 2022.
Moreover, Buffett and his team sold nearly $15 billion of stock on a net basis in the fourth quarter of last year, meaning they’ve now jettisoned about $25 billion of stock over the past two quarters.