Not only is today the day of Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE: BRK-A ) (NYSE: BRK-B ) much-anticipated annual meeting, but it's also the day after Berkshire reported its first-quarter results. It makes sense, then that Buffett might have a few words about the quarter during the annual meeting.
Buffett highlighted a few aspects of the quarterly report. He pointed out that foreign currency movements affected the results -- though he underscored the fact that he doesn't pay much attention to those currency fluctuations as it pertains to the businesses. He also noted the continued performance of the BNSF railroad segment, as well as the fact that oil was found near one of the tracks. "And," Buffett quipped, "what better place to find oil?"
But Buffett had his most glowing comments for GEICO. Buffett said that the positive momentum in both closures -- people inquiring about insurance that actually buy -- and persistence -- policy holders renewing policies -- continued and he views this as a very big positive for GEICO and Berkshire as a whole.
By the numbers, overall operating earnings were up 42% from the first quarter of last year. Insurance underwriting profit was up significantly from $54 million in the first quarter of last year to $901 million. Investments were up 1% year over year, while non-insurance businesses gained 12%.
More on Berkshire
Thanks to the savvy of investing legend Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway's book value per share has grown a mind-blowing 586,817% over the past 48 years. But with Buffett aging and Berkshire rapidly evolving, is this insurance conglomerate still a buy today? In The Motley Fool's premium report on the company, Berkshire expert Joe Magyer provides investors with key reasons to buy as well as important risks to watch out for. Click here now for instant access to Joe's take on Berkshire!