Berkshire Hathaway operating earnings jump 28% in the fourth quarter, cash pile surges to record

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Warren Buffett ahead of the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder’s Meeting in Omaha, NE.
David A. Grogan | CNBC

Berkshire Hathaway on Saturday reported a big rise in operating earnings in the fourth quarter, thanks to huge gains in its insurance business, while its cash pile expanded to record levels.

The Omaha-based conglomerate posted operating earnings — which refers to profits from businesses across insurance, railroads and utilities — of $8.481 billion in the quarter ending December. That’s 28% above the $6.625 billion from the year-ago period.

For the full year 2023, that brought operating earnings up to $37.350 billion, up 17% from $30.853 billion in the prior year.

Berkshire also held $167.6 billion in cash in the fourth quarter, a record level that surpasses the $157.2 billion the conglomerate held in the prior quarter.

Berkshire Class A shares have rallied roughly 16% this year.

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Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares

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