Mr. Buffett has said operating earnings are more reflective of Berkshire's performance. He rates Berkshire "buy".
Berkshire said it lost $49.7 billion, or $30,653 per Class A share, during the first quarter.
Several of its businesses including railroads, utilities, and insurance have been deemed essential and allowed to continue operating, but their revenues "slowed considerably" in April. However, Berkshire's first-quarter operating earnings were $5.9 billion or about $3,619 per class A share.
Investors now are wondering whether Berkshire will look to invest even more in top USA firms in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mr. Buffett will likely give his take on the pandemic later Saturday at the company's annual meeting in Omaha, Neb.
Warren Buffett speaks with journalists. Investors and non-investors alike can witness history, live, as Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett shares his unscripted views on the company, the markets, the economy, corporate governance, and a lot more.
Messrs. Buffett and Abel are set to answer questions that come from shareholders and are reviewed by a group of handpicked journalists this afternoon. Its holdings include recognizable names like Dairy Queen, Duracell, Fruit of the Loom, See's sweets and Geico. Insurance brings in billions of dollars of "float", upfront premiums customers pay and that Berkshire invests for its own gain.
Expects 2020 underwriting results will be affected by lower premiums for certain business attributable to premium credits granted to policyholders and when premiums are a function of the insured's payroll.
Berkshire's revenue grew 1 percent to $61.27 billion.
Like many other US businesses, Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE:BRK.B) (NYSE:BRK.A) Q1 was shaping up as a good quarter, until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in mid-March. Berkshire changed its buyback policy in 2018, and some shareholders have said they would like the company to spend significantly more cash repurchasing its stock.
Buffett, 89, is nicknamed the Oracle of Omaha because of his Nebraska roots and investment savvy.
Berkshire's cash pile swelled from $US128 billion on December 31 to $US137 billion at the end of March, despite it spending $US1.7 billion on share buybacks in the period. Now he says this crisis won't end as quickly as it began and shares an investing strategy for the next 3 years and beyond.
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