6 Highlights of Berkshire Hathaway’s 2021 First Quarter Report

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Dr. David Kass
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Berkshire Hathaway released its 2021 first quarter report this morning.  The highlights are:

Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett

(1) Operating earnings up 19.5%

(2) Cash on March 31, 2021 equals $145.4 billion up from $138.3 billion on December 31, 2020.

(3) Stock buybacks equaled $6.6 billion at average price of $360,000 per A share (vs. current price of $412,500) down from $9 billion in Q4.

(4) Stock buybacks in Q2 through April 22 equaled at least $1.2 billion (if at Q1 price of $360,000 per A Share).

(5) Berkshire was a net seller of equities in the first quarter, reducing its stake in “Commercial, industrial, and other” by $2.6 billion on a cost basis. Berkshire sold a net $3.9 billion in equities last quarter, as it bought $2.6 billion of stock and sold $6.5 billion worth in the period.

(6) Berkshire’s book value on March 31 equaled $294,000 per share. Its price today ($412,500) to book value ratio equals 1.4 which is about average for Berkshire over many years.

Article by Dr. David Kass

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David I Kass Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Finance Ph.D., Harvard University Robert H. Smith School of Business 4412 Van Munching Hall University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742-1815 Phone: 301-405-9683 Email: dkass@rhsmith.umd.edu (link sends e-mail) Dr. David Kass has published articles in corporate finance, industrial organization, and health economics. He currently teaches Advanced Financial Management and Business Finance, and is the Faculty Champion for the Accelerated Finance Fellows. Prior to joining the faculty of the Smith School in 2004, he held senior positions with the Federal Government (Federal Trade Commission, General Accounting Office, Department of Defense, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis). Dr. Kass has recently appeared on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, PBS Nightly Business Report, Maryland Public Television, Business News Network TV (Canada), Fox TV, American Public Media's Marketplace Radio, and WYPR Radio (Baltimore), and has been quoted on numerous occasions by Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal, where he has primarily discussed Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. He has also launched a Smith School “Warren Buffett” blog. Dr. Kass has accompanied MBA students on trips to Omaha for private meetings with Warren Buffett, and Finance Fellows to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meetings. He is an officer of the Harvard Business School Club of Washington, DC, and is a member of the investment and budget committees of a local nonprofit organization. Dr. Kass received a Smith School “Top 15% Teaching Award” for the 2009-2010 academic year.