Berkshire First Quarter Profit Zooms to $35.5 Billion; Warren Buffett Signals Buying More Apple Shares

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway sold stocks worth $13 billion this year, adding to the massive cash pile of more than $130 billion. Even as the cash reserves increase, the investing maven has not spent the money on buying stocks.

Of the $13.3 billion Berkshire raised in the first quarter selling stock, it invested only about half in the market. While Berkshire repurchased its own stock for $4.4 billion it also spent $2.9 billion on the shares of other publicly traded businesses, the Financial Times reported.

Berkshire Hathaway

"The figures underscore the struggle Berkshire faces in putting its mountain of cash to work at a time when Buffett and his longtime right-hand man Charlie Munger regard valuations as unappetising. The company's cash pile has risen by $2bn since the start of this year to $130.6bn, its highest level since the end of 202," the FT report says.

What are Berkshire Profits?

Berkshire said its first quarter profit was $35.5 billion, while operating earnings increased 12.6 percent from the year before to $8.1 billion. The premier investing company's profit was up from $5.6 billion a year before, driven by a rally in stocks which lifted the value of its $328 billion portfolio of shares.

warren buffett

Speaking at Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting, Buffett also blasted politicians and regulators over the recent bank failures, such as Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and First Republic Bank.

Buffett said it was a catastrophic mistake from regulators who failed to guarantee depositors of Silicon Valley Bank. He also put bank shareholders and executives on the dock, saying they should bear the risk of mismanagement.

Berkshire Hathaway
Berkshire Hathaway has acquired stakes of about 5 percent in Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Mitsui & Co and Sumitomo over the past 12 months YouTube Grab

"A lighted match can be turned into a conflagration or can be blown out .. . You have to have punishment for people who do the wrong thing," Buffett said, according to Reuters.

Also in the press conference, Buffett defendd Brekshire's massive stake in Apple. "Apple is different than the other businesses we own ... It just happens to be a better business," Buffett said.

A man looks at the screen of his mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in Shanghai, China on July 30, 2017.

The size of Berkshire's Apple investment stands at $151 billion. He said Berkshire will hold on to the massive stake as customers are likely to hold on to their $1,500 iPhones than their $35,000 second cars in case of a financial crunch. According to Reuters, Berkshire holds a 5.6 percent stake in Apple.