Even investor Warren Buffett is not immune to the woes of a Biden Economy.
In a letter to investors, Buffet’s conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway reported a $22.8 billion loss in 2022.
The letter further explains that Berkshire Hathaway’s operating earnings, however, continues to grow.
And its holdings of cash and equivalents have grown to $125 billion, giving Mr. Buffett more firepower to invest in stocks and, potentially, buy new companies.
Factoring Berkshire’s investment performance into its overall returns is “100 percent misleading,” Mr. Buffett wrote, since those results are likely to change easily quarter to quarter.
Berkshire’s vast business empire is often seen as a microcosm of American industry. And many of its subsidiaries reported being hurt by the broader economic forces affecting the country.
Weaknesses included Berkshire’s consumer products businesses, which reported a 23 percent drop in earnings last year from 2021, hurt by lower demand and higher costs for raw materials and shipping. In its annual report, Berkshire said that it expected continued soft demand in 2023 and that it planned to “right size” its operations and reduce product inventories.
The conglomerate’s core insurance businesses, which generate the cash that powers Mr. Buffett’s vast investments, also reported underwriting losses from catastrophic events, like hurricanes, and a rise in auto claims at Geico.
And BNSF Railway reported a slight drop in earnings, in large part because of the rising cost of fuel and lower volumes of shipments.