Berkshire Hathaway’s cash pile nears all-time high at $147bn


Share post:

Receive free Berkshire Hathaway Inc updates

Berkshire Hathaway’s cash and investments in short-term Treasuries surged to $147bn at the end of the second quarter, underscoring Warren Buffett’s faith in the backbone of global financial markets despite the rocky political climate in Washington.

The sprawling conglomerate — which owns the BNSF railroad and Geico insurer — increased the holdings by nearly $17bn in the second quarter, to sit just below an all-time high of $149bn set in 2021.

The disclosure came days after rating agency Fitch stripped the US of its prized triple A rating. Analysts cited Washington’s repeated stand-offs over the debt ceiling, which drove the Treasury’s cash balances to dangerously low levels.

Buffett, who has led Berkshire for more than half a century, told CNBC last week that Fitch’s decision would not change the company’s investment strategy and that he was not worried about the US dollar or Treasury market.

“Berkshire bought $10bn in US Treasuries last Monday,” he said. “We bought $10bn in Treasuries this Monday. And the only question for next Monday is whether we will buy $10bn in three-month or six-month” bills.

Berkshire has long kept cash in short-term Treasuries to give the company the flexibility to pay out catastrophic insurance losses and to have reserves ready to splash out on multibillion-dollar acquisitions.

“There are some things people shouldn’t worry about,” he said. “This is one.”

The company on Saturday reported that it swung to a profit of $35.9bn between April and June, from a loss of $43.6bn in the same period the year before.

The figures are distorted by movements in the value of Berkshire’s mammoth $353bn stock portfolio, which includes stakes in Apple, American Express and Bank of America. Berkshire is required by US accounting rules to include those shifts in its earnings, even if it has not sold the stocks.

Excluding those gains, Berkshire’s smattering of businesses reported operating earnings of $10bn, up from $9.4bn a year before. The results were buoyed by the company’s core insurance businesses, where underwriting profits climbed 74 per cent to $1.2bn, as well as its large holdings of cash and Treasury bills.

The company, which uses the premiums it receives on insurance policies to fund its investments, has benefited from the Federal Reserve’s move to increase interest rates. Berkshire disclosed it earned $1.4bn of interest income in the quarter and just over $2.5bn in the first half of the year.

“Our investment income is going to be a lot larger this year than last year, and that’s built in,” Buffett said at the company’s annual meeting in May. He estimated the Treasury bill portfolio could earn the company $5bn annually in income, given interest rates are now above 5 per cent.

Berkshire’s insurance results stood out in an industry that has struggled with higher costs to repair or replace automobiles, as well as the string of catastrophic storms that caused billions of dollars in property damage.

Geico reported a second quarter of underwriting profits, following more than a year of losses. The unit cut advertising spending, lifted insurance premiums and said it had significantly reduced the number of consumers it was insuring.

The company spent $1.4bn on share buybacks, a far slower pace than in the first three months of the year when it repurchased $4.4bn of its stock.

Source link

Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

Recent posts

Related articles

Sunak’s worthy A-level reforms held back by fantasies on tax

This article is an on-site version of our Inside Politics newsletter. Sign up here to get the...

UK regulator provisionally approves Microsoft’s $75bn Activision deal

Receive free Technology sector updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Technology...

Why everyone loses from Poland’s Ukraine weapons tantrum

Receive free Europe updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Europe news...

Bank of Japan maintains ultra-low interest rates

Receive free Bank of Japan updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest...

How to host a dinner party like Bao’s Erchen Chang — recipes and tips

Receive free Food & Drink updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest...

Rupert Murdoch resolves his own succession drama — for now

For the better part of three decades, media and political operators have obsessed over the question of...

Joe Biden raised issue of Canadian Sikh’s death with India’s Modi

Receive free Canada updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Canada news...

Tories seize on Starmer comments over divergence from EU rules

Leading Conservatives have launched a new attack on Sir Keir Starmer for wanting to “rejoin the EU...