Berkshire Hathaway’s third quarter profits were bolstered by investment gains despite lower operating profits due to insurance underwriting losses. This according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.
The firm reported third-quarter net earnings of $30.1 billion, up from $16.5 billion in the prior year. Operating earnings, however, dropped from $8.1 billion to $5.5 billion.
“In some ways,” the article explains, “the coronavirus pandemic has helped insurers as fewer miles driven has led to a significant decline in claims…On the other hand, Covid-19 has upended so many parts of daily life beyond miles driven that have led to increased claims, from canceled events to travel insurance.”
The article notes that Warren Buffett, the firm’s 90-year-old chairman, “continues to practice restraint in spending the company’s large cash pile” as he waits for the “right big deal at the right price.” Still, over the last few months Berkshire has reportedly invested $6 billion in five Japanese trading companies and purchased Dominion Energy Inc’s midstream energy business for $9.7 billion. It has also disclosed a $565 million stake in mining company Barrick Gold Corp.