Buffett beats S&P for second straight year

For the second straight year, shares of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway have outperformed the benchmark S&P 500 stock index.

Berkshire's Class A shares finished 2013 at $177,900, just below their 52-week high of $178,900 set in late July. That's up 32.70 percent from their $134,060 close in 2012. It's the biggest annual gain since 1998 when the shares soared 52.2 percent.

Berkshire's Class B shares gained 32.17 percent, closing at $118.56, up from $89.70 at the end of last year.

The S&P had its best year since 1997 with a spectacular gain of 29.60 percent, excluding dividends, but that's just below Berkshire's surge.

In 2012, the stock also came out ahead with a gain of 16.82 percent versus the S&P's 13.41 percent.

By Buffett's favored measurement, however, 2012 was "subpar."

(Read More: Berkshire Hathaway's 15 biggest stock holdings)

In his annual letter to shareholders released in March, Buffett compared Berkshire's per-share book value to the S&P 500 with dividends included. Berkshire's gain of 14.4 percent lagged the S&P's of 16.0 percent.

Buffett was disappointed, writing, "When the partnership I ran took control of Berkshire in 1965, I could never have dreamed that a year in which we had a gain of $24.1 billion would be subpar ... but subpar it was."

Doing it the Buffett way
Doing it the Buffett way   

We won't know how Berkshire did by the book value metric until the company releases the next letter to shareholders in a few months.

Over the past ten years, Berkshire's stock has gained 111.16 percent, easily outpacing the S&P's 66.23 percent increase.

By CNBC's Alex Crippen. Follow him on Twitter: @alexcrippen

Berkshire stock vs S&P excluding dividends

Berkshire
S&P
2013 +32.70% +29.60%
2012 +16.82% +13.41%
2011 -4.73% +0.00%
2010 +21.42% +12.78%
2009 +2.69% +23.45%
2008 -31.78% -38.49%
2007 +28.74% +3.53%
2006 +24.11% +13.62%
2005 +0.82% +3.00%
2004 +4.33% +8.99%
2003 +15.81% +26.38%
2002 -3.77% -23.37%
2001 +6.48% -13.04%
2000 +26.56% -10.14%
1999 -19.86% +19.53%
1998 +52.17% +26.67%
1997 +34.90% +31.01%
1996 +6.23% +20.26%
1995 +57.35% +34.11%
1994 +24.96% -1.54%
1993 +38.94% +7.06%
1992 +29.83% +4.46%
1991 +35.58% +26.31%
1990 -23.05% -5.83%
1989 +84.57% +26.27%
1988 +59.32% +12.40%
1987 +4.61% +2.03%
1986 +14.17% +14.62%
1985 +93.73% +26.33%
1984 -2.67% +1.40%
1983 +69.03% +17.27%
1982 +38.39% +14.76%
1981 +31.76% -9.73%
1980 +32.81% +25.77%
1979 +110.53% +12.31%
1978 +10.14% +1.06%
1977 +55.06% -11.50%
Avg. Change 26.44% 9.31%