Warren Buffett's Berkshire posts record $ 50 billion loss, operating profit increases

NEW DELHI: Warren buffett 's Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Saturday posted a record net loss of nearly $ 50 billion when the coronavirus pandemic hit its investments in common stock, but operating profit increased even when COVID-19 damaged its businesses.

Berkshire 's first-quarter net loss totaled $ 49.75 billion, or $ 30,653 per Class A share, reflecting $ 54.52 billion of losses from investments, mainly common stocks. A year earlier, net earnings totaled $ 21.66 billion, or $ 13,209 per share.

Quarterly operating profit, which Buffett considers a better performance measure, increased 6% to $ 5.87 billion, or about $ 3,624 per Class A share, $ 5.56 billion, or about $ 3,388 per share.

An accounting rule requires Berkshire to report unrealized stock losses and gains with earnings. This causes huge swings in Berkshire 's net results that Buffett considers meaningless.

Nonetheless, Berkshire has loaded up on stocks in part because of Buffett 's inability to find large companies to buy outright, a drought that has lasted more than four years and left Berkshire with about $ 137.3 billion of cash.

The Standard&poor's500slid20%inthefirstquarterbutthereweresteeperfallsinseverallargeberkshireholdingsincludingamericanexpress,bankofamerica,wellsfargoandfourairlines-american,delta,southwestandunited.

berkshire'soperatingbusinesses,likemuchofcorporateamerica,werenotunscathedbycovid-19,whichhurtvolumesatthebnsfrailroadandforcedretailbusinessessuchassee'scandiestotemporarilyclosestores.

mostofberkshire'sbusinesseshavebeenhurtbythepandemic,witheffectssofarrangingfromrelativelyminortosevere,andrevenuesofbusinessesdeemedessentialhaveslowedconsiderablyinapril,thecompanysaid.

vicepresidentcharliemungertoldaunitedstates-basednewspaperlastmonththatsomesmallberkshirebusinessescouldcloseentirely.

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