Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Put $90 Billion to Work in 3 Years


Good morning, readers. I’m senior reporter Phil Rosen. 

One of my favorite parts of this job is having conversations with folks in and around Wall Street. 

People have varying views on the economy, politics, and pop culture, but as far as reading recommendations are concerned, a consistent pattern emerges. 

Just about everyone advises going through Warren Buffett’s annual letters to shareholders.

They date back more than 50 years, and taken together, the writing leaves you with a good grasp of Buffett’s business philosophy. 

(His letter this year made a particular splash.)

But the famed investor does much more than write letters, of course. 

Over the past three years, Buffett’s empire has been putting cash to work at a particularly fast clip. 

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warren buffett

Warren Buffett

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1. Berkshire Hathaway’s latest annual report illustrates that the company has deployed nearly $90 billion in investments since 2020. 

Buffett’s firm spent close to $107 billion on stocks — that’s just about the market value of Intel — in three years, but sold about $88 billion of that, leaving a net outlay of $18 billion. 

In 2020, Buffett and co. had spent a then-unprecedented $25 billion on stock buybacks, and set a new record of $27 billion in 2021. 

Total share repurchases in three years ended up close to $60 billion

Add that to the acquisition of insurance firm Alleghany for about $12 billion, and that puts the total right around $89.5 billion

This spending spree is notable not just for its enormous scale but because of the context it happened in. 

Stocks had soared during the pandemic, as SPACs and private equity firms bid up the cost of acquisitions. That’s frustrating for a bargain hunter like Buffett, who’s complained about the lack of compelling buys in that period.

So his team widened their net. They built up stakes in other companies and ramped up repurchases, and the moves have been working. 

But even after all that, Berkshire still ended last year with $129 billion in cash and short-term investments. 

Buffett’s pandemic decisions reflect those from the 2008 financial crisis, when funding dried up and he was one of the few lenders that hadn’t gone under. 

It was actually during those down years he made some of his most lucrative bets

Let’s close with one of Buffett’s most quotable quips:

“We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”

What are your thoughts on Buffett’s massive spending spree of the last three years? Tweet me (@philrosenn) or email me (prosen@insider.com) to let me know. 

In other news:

traders nyse

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

2. US stock futures were tipping lower early Monday, after China gave a lowball GDP growth outlook and investors readied themselves for Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony to Congress this week. Here are the latest market moves.

3. Earnings on deck: Ciena, Nutanix, and more, all reporting.

4. Capitalize on the $900 billion AI boom with these stock picks, according to Bank of America. Investors impressed with ChatGPT may want to gain exposure to the artificial intelligence sector before it becomes too popular in the near future. Here are 20 stocks to buy now.

5. Fundstrat expects the stock market to see its strongest rally of the year soon. If seasonal trends play out like the firm’s Tom Lee expects, the S&P 500 could jump 7% by the end of April. He laid out six reasons why equities could climb higher in the next two months.

6. Russia’s oil and gas revenue tanked in February. Sanctions and price caps ate into export earnings, a Bloomberg report said, citing the country’s finance minister. It’s a sign that measures taken by Western nations against Moscow are having the intended economic impact.

7. Avoiding a recession would actually be bad news for the stock market. That’s according to TS Lombard. In their view, that scenario would likely mean the Fed keeps interest rates high in a “no landing” environment, which would put downward more pressure on equities. Get the full details.

8. A freelancer who makes six-figures said anyone has the ability to turn writing into a side hustle. He shared the “funny and unconventional” cover letter that landed him his first major gig despite not having a background in writing.

9. Meet Dave Allred, a real-estate investor who owns over 1,000 units. He broke down the most impactful investing, personal development, and leadership books that helped him find financial freedom by age 36. See his list of 21 titles.

C3.ai stock

Markets Insider

10. AI software company C3.ai skyrocketed after an upbeat earnings report. In a Friday note, strategist Dan Ives said the company is “walking the walk” now that it’s gaining momentum in the burgeoning AI space. 

Curated by Phil Rosen in New York. Feedback or tips? Tweet @philrosenn or email prosen@insider.com.

Edited by Max Adams (@maxradams) in New York and Nathan Rennolds (@ncrennolds) in London.


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