$200,000 a share: Buffett's Berkshire hits record high

Friday 15 August 2014 08.04
Shares in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway group have topped $200,000 each for the first time
Shares in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway group have topped $200,000 each for the first time

Shares in US investment star Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway group topped $200,000 each for the first time last night, less than eight years after breaking the $100,000 barrier. 

Already the priciest on US markets, Berkshire shares got even more expensive for investors in a 7.5% climb since the company announced record quarterly earnings at the start of August. 

At the close of trade on Wall Street Berkshire A shares were up $3,500, or 1.8%, to $202,850.

Buffett has become a legend for the performance of Berkshire.

It has a large number of majority and minority investments in everything from small jewellery and furniture retailers to insurance giant General Re, chemicals group Lubrizol, Coca-Cola, IBM, American Express, Wells Fargo Bank and dozens of others. 

The company's long-term gains have made Buffett the world's third wealthiest man, his fortune worth $65.9 billion, according to Forbes magazine. 

After crossing the $100,000 line in October 2006, Berkshire shares have easily outperformed indices like the S&P 500 broad-market index, up only 43% since then, further enhancing Buffett's star as the "Oracle of Omaha," the Nebraska city where he lives.

But the company's future remains under a huge question mark, of who will replace Buffett, 83. He has not said when he will retire but regularly says a solid succession plan has been mapped out. 

To make the shares more accessible to small investors, Berkshire created a second class in 1996 when the A shares rose to around $33,000 each. The B shares, labelled "Baby Berkshires" at the time, went out at just $1,000. 

Eventually they grew out of reach of small market players, and underwent a 50-to-1 split in 2010, a move also made to help the company finalise its takeover of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. The B shares finished up 1.7% at $135.30 last night.

shares have easily outperformed indices like the S&P 500 broad-market index, up only 43% since then, further enhancing Buffett's star as the "Oracle of Omaha," the Nebraska city where he lives.

But the company's future remains under a huge question mark, of who will replace Buffett, 83. He has not said when he will retire but regularly says a solid succession plan has been mapped out. 

To make the shares more accessible to small investors, Berkshire created a second class in 1996 when the A shares rose to around $33,000 each. The B shares, labeled "Baby Berkshires" at the time, went out at just $1,000. 

Eventually they grew out of reach of small market players, and underwent a 50-to-1 split in 2010, a move also made to help the company finalise its takeover of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. The B shares finished up 1.7% at $135.30 last night.