Buffett Watch

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Falls to Five-Year Low


Shares of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway closed at a 5-year low today (Friday) after their sixth straight daily decline.

The stock finished at $77,000, down $1600 on the day, or just over 2 percent.

That breaks through the recent closing low of $77,500 set on November 20, 2008.  Berkshire hasn't closed at this level since October 27, 2003.

Today's intraday low of $73,677 also broke below November's intraday low of $74,100.

Today's volume of about 5-1/2 thousand shares is about five times greater than the average volume over the past 10 days.

The stock is down 14.8 percent over its six-session losing streak, which started on February 12.

For the year, Berkshire is down 20.3 percent.  That's substantially worse than the benchmark S&P 500's 14.8 percent drop.

Since closing at its all-time high of $149,200 on December 10, 2007, Berkshire has lost almost half its value, falling 48.4 percent.

The selling appears to reflect concerns about the declining value of Berkshire's stock portfolio and large derivatives contracts betting against long-term stock market losses. 

Berkshire won't have to make any payments on the contracts, which are essentially insurance policies, for many years, and then only if stocks don't eventually recover.  Under accounting rules, however, it must include any paper "losses" in its earnings report.  Those losses are expected to be quite large when Berkshire releases its fourth quarter and full year results in the next few weeks.

Buffett has promised to include more information about the derivative positions and how they are priced in Berkshire's annual report.

Current Berkshire stock prices:

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