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Berkshire Hathaway stock hits milestone at $200,000

August 14. 2014 10:13PM
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett listens to a shareholder at the Berkshire-owned Borsheims jewelry store where Buffett was selling jewelry as part of the company annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Neb. in this May 4, 2014, file photo. (REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files)

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s share price on Thursday crossed $200,000 for the first time, the latest milestone for the company that Warren Buffett built over nearly five decades into what some analysts view as a microcosm of the U.S. economy.

Class A shares of Berkshire, which have never been split, rose as high as $201,114, as the Omaha, Neb.-based company’s market value swelled to $327.8 billion, making it the fourth-largest in the benchmark S&P 500 index.

Berkshire’s share price has doubled since it first crossed the $100,000 barrier on Oct. 5, 2006. The S&P 500 has jumped 44 percent since that date through Wednesday.

Buffett, who turns 84 on Aug. 30 and is the world’s third-richest person, oversees a conglomerate with more than 80 businesses ranging from Geico car insurance to the BNSF railroad to Dairy Queen ice cream, and more than $119 billion of stocks such as Wells Fargo & Co. and Coca-Cola Co.

In the second quarter, Berkshire Hathaway posted a record $6.4 billion profit, helped by a stock swap and growing earnings in many businesses, on revenue of $49.76 billion.

By some measures, Berkshire remains moderately priced, trading at about 1.4 times its book value, a measure of assets minus liabilities, in the most recent quarter.

Buffett has said he will consider buybacks only at or below a 1.2 times multiple.

Berkshire also has lower-cost Class B shares, which Buffett launched in 1996 to thwart unit investment trusts purporting to be “clones” of Berkshire but which carried high costs.

Those shares now trade at about 1/1,500th of a Class A share and carry voting rights equal to 1/10,000th of a Class A share.

Buffett has since 2006 been donating Berkshire shares to several charities, but still owns about one-fifth of the company and controls about one-third of its voting power.

His net worth was about $65.3 billion as of Wednesday, Forbes magazine said.


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