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Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.B) Down 7.5% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Rebound?

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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.B). Shares have lost about 7.5% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Berkshire Hathaway Inc. due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Berkshire Q1 Earnings Up Y/Y on Solid Segment Growth

Berkshire Hathaway delivered first-quarter operating earnings of $5.6 billion, which increased 5% year over year.

This improvement was mainly attributable to solid results across all segments.

Behind the Headlines

Revenues increased 3.8% year over year to $60.7 billion.

Costs and expenses increased 2.1% year over year to $53.5 billion.

Pre-tax income came in at $27.6 billion, rebounding from the year-ago loss of $1.1 billion.

Segment Results

Berkshire Hathaway’s huge and growing Insurance Operations segment has kept its underwriting profit streak alive for more than 15 years. Revenues from the Insurance group increased 8.4% year over year to $15.8 billion. This segment’s net earnings attributable to Berkshire Hathaway were $1.626 billion, up 14.6% year over year.

Railroad, Utilities and Energy operating revenues grew 2.9% year over year to $10.4 billion owing to higher contribution from both Burlington Northern SantaFe Corp. (BNSF) and Berkshire Hathaway Energy. Net earnings of $1.9 billion were up 7.4% year over year, primarily attributable to a 9.4% increase in the railroad business (driven by higher rates per car/unit and a curtailment gain related to an amendment to a retirement plan, partly offset by lower unit volume) as well as a 3.4% increase from the energy business.

Total revenues at Manufacturing, Service and Retailing rose 1.7% year over year to $34.9 billion. Net earnings grew 3.4% year over year to $2.2 billion.

Financial Position

As of Mar 31, 2019, consolidated shareholders’ equity was $368.8 billion, up 5.9% from the level as of Dec 31, 2018. At quarter-end, cash and cash equivalents were $31,791 billion, up 4.7% from the level at 2018 end.

Berkshire parent company debt was $16.7 billion as on Mar 31, 2019, a decrease of $167 million since Dec 31, 2018.

The company exited the first quarter with a float of about $124 billion, up $1 billion from year-end 2018.

Cash flow from operating activities totaled $7.6 billion, up 0.3% year over year.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

Analysts were quiet during the last two month period as none of them issued any earnings estimate revisions.

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