But Berkshire also ended a long stretch of disappointing operating performance, posting record operating profit as insurance rebounded from a hard quarter while economic growth bolstered results in railroad, industrial and consumer businesses.
Property & casualty and life & health reinsurance at Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group both made a good start to the year, with over $2 billion of premiums earned in P&C reinsurance, up from $1.74 billion in the prior year, and $1.234 billion earned in life & health reinsurance, up from $1.085 billion in the prior year. He also is of the opinion that all big banks have had troubles of one sort or the other and what happened at Wells Fargo could have happened anywhere.
Buffett has called the new accounting rule a "nightmare" that would produce "truly wild and capricious swings" in bottom-line results that could, depending on their direction, unnecessarily scare or embolden investors.
Speaking at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, Buffett praised Apple for creating "extremely sticky" products that bring customers into its ecosystem.
"We would love to see Apple go down in price", Buffett said.
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Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected operating earnings of $2.08. Operating profit had previously fallen for five straight quarters, and missed Wall Street forecasts for eight straight.
Warren Buffett said he would be happy if his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway owned more than 5 percent of Apple's stock, including if the iPhone maker bought back more of its shares.
"In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say with nearly certainty that they will come to a bad ending", the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said then. In Friday trading, the Class A shares closed at$292,600, and the Class B shares at $195.64.
In other comments at the shareholder meeting on Saturday, Buffett said it is unlikely that the U.S. and China will come to loggerheads on trade. "If you don't understand it, you get much more excited", Buffett said on CNBC television.
Buffett was forthright when he said that the scandal-plagued bank had committed the "cardinal sin" of incentivising employees into a "kind of insane conduct" but continued to believe that the bank was not "inferior", as an investment or morally, to its main rivals. Pre-tax underwriting gains almost quadrupled, as it sold more policies despite having raised rates, while the rate of policyholder losses fell.