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Berkshire Q4 Profit Up 23%

Billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A, BRK.B) reported that its fourth-quarter net earnings attributable to shareholders rose about 23 percent to $35.84 billion from last year's $29.16 billion, with earnings per share improving to $23,015 per Class A share from $17,909 per Class A share in the prior year.

Operating earnings for the fourth-quarter grew to $5.02 billion from $4.42 billion in the previous year.

Total revenues for the fourth-quarter declined to $64.38 billion from $65.37 billion in the prior year.

Warren Buffett said in a letter to the company's shareholders that the company has repurchased more shares since year end and is likely to further reduce the company's share count in the future.

Berkshire said it repurchased about $9 billion of stock during the fourth quarter, and about $25 billion of stock in 2020. "That action increased your ownership in all of Berkshire's businesses by 5.2% without requiring you to so much as touch your wallet," Buffett said Saturday in his annual letter.

On December 31, 2020, there were 1.54 million Class A equivalent shares outstanding. Insurance float was approximately $138 billion at December 31, 2020, an increase of $9 billion since year end 2019.

Buffett admitted in the letter that he made a mistake in 2016 in acquiring Precision Castparts. "I paid too much for the company. No one misled me in any way - I was simply too optimistic about PCC's normalized profit potential," Buffett said.

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