Value of Buffett's Berkshire Jumps 13 Percent on Trump Tax Cut

Robyn Valdez
February 25, 2018

Berkshire's (BRK.A, BRK.B) book value rose $65B in 2017, or 23%. "But 2017 was far from standard: A large portion of our gain did not come from anything we accomplished at Berkshire".

Warren Buffett on Saturday reported a record quarterly and annual profit for his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, thanks in part to a $29.1bn boost "delivered" by the Republican tax cut.

"You and I are lucky to have Ajit and Greg working for us", Buffett wrote.

Is a big acquisition in Berkshire's plans? "If Wall Street analysts or board members urge that brand of CEO to consider possible acquisitions, it's a bit like telling your ripening teenager to be sure to have a normal sex life".

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Buffett himself earlier this year expressed some reservation about the tax-code rewrite cobbled together by federal lawmakers. Equity holdings include Apple, Wells Fargo and Coca-Cola. Berkshire also owns scores of businesses that it has acquired over the years: auto insurer Geico, Dairy Queen and BNSF Railway Company.

Last year, however, was another good one for Berkshire stockholders, as the company's "A" shares rose almost 22%, vs. a gain of 19.4% for the S&P 500, a broad stock market index.

With the exception of insurance, companies owned by Berkshire Hathaway increased their pre-tax profit by $950 million to $20 billion for the year, of which nearly half came from railway operator BNSF and Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

"Over the last 53 years (that is, since present management took over), per-share book value has grown from $19 to $211,750, a rate of 19.1% compounded annually", he said. Overall - and over time - we should get decent results. And sometimes I will make expensive mistakes.

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Kraft Heinz Co said on Friday billionaire investor Warren Buffett has made a decision to retire from the company's board following the end of his term in April to reduce travel commitments.

Buffett gave the final details of a 10-year long bet he made against hedge funds in 2007. Berkshire estimates about $3B in losses from those events. The S&P 500 index fund Buffett backed easily outpaced the hedge funds.

It's brutal - for the hedge funds.

Known to fans as "the Oracle of Omaha", Buffett, 87, has suggested U.S. stocks are probably the best bet over time, encouraging people to make easy choices and stick with them, eschewing high-fee fund managers, for instance.

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