Buffett’s Berkshire stays aggressive with stock repurchases

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate is still aggressively buying back its own stock to make use of some of its huge pile of cash.

Berkshire has repurchased roughly $6.5 billion of its own shares so far in the second quarter. That follows $6.6 billion of repurchases in the first three months of the year and roughly $25 billion in repurchases last year.

The latest repurchases were revealed Wednesday when Buffett filed an update on his Berkshire holdings after he donated $4.1 billion worth of stock to five foundations he supports with annual gifts. Edward Jones analyst Jim Shanahan noted the filings showed there were now fewer shares outstanding than there were when Berkshire filed its first-quarter earnings report.

Berkshire has turned to repurchases in recent years as a way to make use of some of its roughly $145 billion pile of cash as Buffett has struggled to find major acquisitions for the company. And Buffett has long opposed paying a dividend at Berkshire because he believes the money will be worth more if it is reinvested by the company instead of being paid out to shareholders.

Shanahan said Berkshire’s cash pile should shrink a bit during the second quarter because of the repurchases and other investments the company has disclosed recently.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate owns more than 90 companies outright, including Geico and several other insurers, major utilities, BNSF railroad and an assortment of manufacturing and retail businesses. Berkshire also holds major stock investments in Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola and other companies.

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