Warren Buffett is a happy man. In the second quarter of this year, his firm, Berkshire Hathaway, made $6.4 billion in net profit, the most it has ever made in a three-month period. To put that in perspective, ExxonMobil made $8.8 billion and Apple made $7.7 billion in the same period—and they make oil and some of the world’s most beloved consumer devices, respectively.
The firm’s profits in the second quarter were boosted by its stakes in other companies, as the share prices of most of the American companies Buffett invests like Wells Fargo have soared, and by gains from derivatives. US railroads, through the company it owns, BNSF, contributed almost $1 billion to the company’s bottom line. Berkshire’s more expensive Class A shares have risen 6% so far this year, and are worth more than $180,000 each.
Berkshire Hathaway’s huge bump in earnings exceeds the $5.1 billion that the firm made in a single quarter back in 2005. And it’s a long way from 2009, when it posted its first quarterly loss in eight years during the financial crisis. Last year, Berkshire even acquired a beloved ketchup maker. “With Heinz, Berkshire now owns 8 1/2 companies that, were they stand-alone businesses, would be in the Fortune 500,” Buffett said in his last annual report. “Only 491 1/2 to go.”