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Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) Q3 Earnings Miss on Cat Losses

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s BRK.B third-quarter 2017 operating earnings of $1.40 per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 25.5%. The bottom line also deteriorated nearly 29% year over year. Shares of the company have lost 0.7% in after-hours trading session to account for this downside.

The quarter suffered largely due to the unprecedented hurricanes and the two Mexican tremors that wreaked havoc.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Revenues increased about 2.9% year over year to $60.5 million.

Costs and expenses increased 13.6% year over year.

Pre-tax income of $5.6 billion plunged 46.7% year over year.

Segment Results

Berkshire Hathaway’s huge and growing Insurance Operations segment has kept its underwriting profit streak alive for more than 14 years. Revenues from the Insurance group increased 8% year over year to $47.2 billion. This segment’s net loss attributable to Berkshire Hathaway was $0.4 million, which compared unfavorably with $1.1 billion in the year-ago quarter. The quarter suffered due to catastrophe loss,  estimated at about $1.95 billion.

Railroad, Utilities and Energy operating revenues grew 3.9% year over year to $10.7 billion owing to higher contribution from both BNSF and Berkshire Hathaway Energy. Net earnings of $2 billion were up 2.6% year over year, primarily banking on a 2.2% increase in earnings from the railroad business and a 3.3% rise in earnings from the energy business.

Total revenue at Manufacturing, Service and Retailing grew 4.6% year over year to $32.1 billion. Net earnings attributable to Berkshire Hathaway slipped 0.6% year over year to $1.7 billion in the reported quarter.

Revenues at the company’s Finance & Financial Products — including Clayton Homes (manufactured housing and finance), CORT Business Services (furniture rental), Marmon (rail car and other transportation equipment manufacturing, repair and leasing) and XTRA (over-the-road trailer leasing) — rose 15.8% year over year to $2.2 billion. Net earnings inched up 1.2% year over year to $623 million this quarter.

Financial Position

As of Sep 30, 2017, consolidated shareholders’ equity was $308.3 billion, up 8.9% from Dec 31, 2016. As of Sep 30, 2017, cash, cash equivalents and the U.S. Treasury bills were approximately $42.6 billion, up 52% from the level at 2016-end. For the first nine months of 2017, cash from operations soared 49% year over year to $37.5 billion.

As of Sep 30, 2017, Berkshire Hathaway’s book value increased 8.6% from the year-end 2016 to $124.96 per share.

The company exited the quarter with a float of about $113 billion.

Zacks Rank

Berkshire Hathaway carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Performance of Other P&C Insurers

Among other players from the insurance industry that have reported third-quarter earnings so far, the bottom line of The Progressive Corp. PGR, The Travelers Companies, Inc. TRV and RLI Corp. RLI beat the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate.

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