Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s fourth-quarter profits rose on the back of a soaring stock market.
Berkshire’s net earnings rose to $35.8 billion, or $23,015 a Class A share equivalent, up almost 23% from the year before’s profit of $29.2 billion, or $17,909 a share.
Operating earnings, which exclude some investment results, rose to $5 billion from $4.4 billion the year prior. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has said operating earnings better reflect Berkshire’s performance than net earnings that incorporate unrealized investment gains or losses.
Berkshire runs a large insurance operation as well as railroad holdings, utilities, industrial manufacturers, retailers and even auto dealerships. It also holds large investments, especially in the stock market.
An accounting-rule change in recent years has meant that Berkshire’s earnings often reflect the larger performance of the stock market.