While Berkshire's third-quarter performance will undoubtedly be of interest to many investors, there may be another item scrutinized even more closely: the company's buyback activity. Berkshire Hathaway has been ramping up repurchases of its own stock recently, highlighting the Oracle of Omaha's bullish view for Berkshire's long-term potential.
Here's Buffett likely continued to spend billions on Berkshire stock in Q3.
Berkshire's favorite stock
In Berkshire's last quarterly report, the company revealed it had repurchased more than $5 billion in its own stock, marking the company's biggest-ever quarterly investment in Berkshire. In fact, this capital outlay was greater than what the company spent buying back shares during the entire year of 2019.
Going further, Berkshire spent more money in recent quarters repurchasing stock than it has spent buying any other stock.
Did the repurchasing continue into Q3? It seems so. Based on the company's reported share count at the time of its second-quarter update, Berkshire spent more than $2 billion repurchasing its stock in the beginning of Q3.
While we won't know whether Berkshire continued purchasing stock during the second two months of Q3 until the company reports earnings on Saturday, the chances are high that it did given its recent repurchase trends.
Is Buffett right about Berkshire stock?
Berkshire Hathaway stock certainly looks like its trading at an attractive valuation based on a number of valuation metrics. The company's price-to-book ratio today is less than 1.3 -- well below levels around 1.5 to 1.6 several years ago.
Further, the company trades at just 20 times its trailing-12-month free cash flow -- and that metric fails to capture the value of the company's strong equities portfolio. For instance, Berkshire has a 5.9% in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) -- a company that generates $74 billion of free cash flow annually.
Even more, investors should note that Berkshire wrapped up Q2 with a stunning $146.6 billion of cash and cash equivalents. This means 30% of every Berkshire share is backed by raw cash.
I'm in agreement with the Oracle of Omaha on this one: Berkshire Hathaway looks like an attractive stock for investors willing to hold shares for the long haul. It wouldn't be surprising, therefore, to see the value of the conglomerate's third-quarter repurchases cross $3 billion.