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Berkshire Hathaway’s cash reserves hit record high as operating earnings surge

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  • Staff Report 

Berkshire Hathaway’s financial strength showcased remarkable growth in the fourth quarter, with its cash reserves reaching an all-time high of $167.6 billion, surpassing the previous quarter’s $157.2 billion. The conglomerate, led by Warren Buffett, revealed significant gains in its insurance sector, contributing to an impressive 28% increase in operating earnings compared to the same period last year. The earnings for the quarter ended December amounted to $8.481 billion, elevating the annual operating earnings to $37.350 billion, marking a 17% rise from the previous year.

The insurance business, particularly Geico, played a pivotal role in driving the conglomerate’s profitability, with net underwriting earnings of $5.428 billion in 2023. This performance was attributed to increased premium rates and a decrease in claims. However, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad experienced a 14% drop in net earnings compared to the previous year, reflecting some challenges in the sector.

Despite fluctuations in some areas, Berkshire Hathaway’s overall earnings, including investment gains, more than doubled during the quarter, reaching $37.57 billion, with annual profits at $96.22 billion. The company emphasized the importance of focusing on the economic performance of its operating businesses rather than short-term investment gains or losses, indicating a strong foundation for continued growth and stability.

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