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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."

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%
Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
BRK.A
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