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Buffett's Berkshire posts big profit as stocks gain

OMAHA, Neb., May 4 (Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Saturday swung to a big quarterly profit, bolstered by gains in its stock investments, and also posted a small increase in operating earnings.

The $21.66 billion overall profit, or $13,209 per Class A share, compared with a year-earlier net loss of $1.14 billion, or $692 per share, and a fourth-quarter net loss of $25.39 billion.

These results illustrate what Buffett has called the "wild and capricious" and, in his view, meaningless swings caused by an accounting rule requiring the reporting of unrealized stock gains with earnings, regardless of Berkshire's plans to sell.

Berkshire said operating profit, which Buffett considers a better performance measure, rose 5 percent to $5.56 billion. Operating profit was $5.29 billion, or $3,215 per share, a year earlier.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in Omaha, Nebraska Editing by Nick Zieminski)