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The latest round of tariff announcements in the last few days means that by the end of the year, essentially all Chinese goods exported to the U.S. will be subject to duties.China Economyread more
Futures fell after Trump said the U.S. will raise tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese imports, increasing trade tensions.Marketsread more
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Tensions stemming from the U.S.-China trade war escalated sharply over the last few days, with much happening as Asian markets were shut down for the weekend.China Economyread more
Clouding the G-7 gathering, which represents the world's major industrial economies, are the tit-for-tat tariffs between Washington and Beijing.Politicsread more
Neither the U.S. nor China wants to be seen as the party that derailed trade talks, says William Reinsch of Center for Strategic and International Studies.World Economyread more
China said Friday it will be resuming 25% duties on U.S. autos, and a further 5% on auto parts and components.Asia Marketsread more
World leaders, environmental groups and celebrities have publicly decried the vast swaths of forest being destroyed by the fires.World Newsread more
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung says the Singapore government has been preparing for the challenge of an aging workforce "for the past 20 years."Employmentread more
Megvii is known for its facial recognition technology and while revenue grew over 350% in 2018, its losses have widened.Technologyread more
(Adds Buffett comment, details from earnings, related items links and byline)
OMAHA, Neb., May 4 (Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Saturday said gains in its stock investments fueled a big first-quarter profit, while improved results from its Geico auto insurer and BNSF railroad units boosted operating results.
Berkshire also said it repurchased $1.7 billion of its stock in the quarter, reflecting Buffett's troubles to find better uses for the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate's cash hoard, which now totals $114.2 billion.
Results were released as Buffett, 88, and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, 95, prepared to answer more than five hours of questions from shareholders and analysts at Berkshire's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, which draws tens of thousands of people.
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 had $15.1 billion of these gains in the first quarter.
Operating profit, which Buffett considers a better performance measure, rose 5 percent to $5.56 billion, or about $3,388 per Class A share, from $5.29 billion, or $3,215 per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average expected operating profit of about $3,399 per Class A share, according to Refinitiv data.
Results excluded operating earnings tied to Berkshire's 26.7 percent stake in Kraft Heinz Co because the food company has not released its own audited quarterly results, Buffett told reporters before the annual meeting.
Buffett also maintained that "we paid too much" for Kraft Heinz, which was created in a 2015 merger between Kraft Foods and H.J. Heinz, which Berkshire and Brazil's 3G Capital controlled.
In last year's fourth quarter, Berkshire took a $3-billion writedown on Kraft.
Geico saw pre-tax underwriting profit rise 14 percent as rising rates and premiums offset higher accident claims.
BNSF's profit rose 9 percent to $1.25 billion as higher demand from the energy and industrial sectors offset lower volumes attributed to severe winter weather and flooding.
Among other businesses, the Berkshire Hathaway Energy unit posted a 3-percent profit increase, while earnings from retailing and services units increased 16 percent, despite a 19 percent revenue drop at See's Candies because Easter fell late.
Berkshire owns more than 90 companies.
Last month, Berkshire committed $10 billion to Occidental Petroleum Corp's cash-and-stock bid for Anadarko Petroleum Corp, which Chevron Corp also wants to buy.
The Berkshire investment is contingent on Occidental completing its proposed purchase of Anadarko.
Berkshire's Class A shares closed Friday at $327,765.61, and its Class B shares closed at $218.60.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in Omaha, Nebraska; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt Editing by Nick Zieminski)