Investments boost profit at Buffett's Berkshire

In a possible sign that succession planning is on Mr Buffett's mind, he noted that senior investment managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler each managed more than $US10 billion of Berkshire's investments. Known to fans as "the Oracle of Omaha", he estimated that the search for outperformance has caused investors to "waste" more than $100 billion over the past decade.

In his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, Buffett said investors "will nearly certainly do well" by staying with the long term with a "collection of large, conservatively financed American businesses".

Berkshire Hathaway Inc's (BRKa.N) gain on its investment in Apple Inc.

Buffett has said operating earnings offer a better view of quarterly performance because they exclude investments and derivatives, which can vary widely.

"Both large and small investors should stick with low-priced index funds".

At year-end, that privilege would have delivered Berkshire a profit of $10.5 billion, Buffett wrote, noting that Berkshire can use its preferred shares to satisfy the $5 billion cost of exercising the warrant.

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Berkshire is ahead more than $US1.6 billion on its investment In Apple since Mr Buffett's investment lieutenants spent $US6.75 billion on 61 million shares in the iPhone maker previous year.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate - which owns The Press of Atlantic City - released its latest results Saturday along with Buffett's annual letter to shareholders. Its insurance and utility businesses typically account for more than half of the company's net income.

Jain joined Berkshire in 1986, and Buffett put him in charge of National Indemnity's small, struggling reinsurance operation.

"Charlie and I love our railroad, which was one of our best purchases", Buffett said, referring to longtime Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger.

But he did, however, talk up the vibrancy of USA society and its inclusion of immigrants, one of the most polarizing issues under the Trump administration.

  • Kyle Warner