9 Aug 2009

Berkshire Hathaway back in profit

8:52 am on 9 August 2009

US financier Warren Buffett's investment firm has reported a jump in profits after making a loss in the first three months of the year.

Between April and June, Berkshire Hathaway made a profit of $US3.3 billion, up 15% on the $US2.88 billion for the same period a year ago. The company made a loss of $US1.53 billion in the first quarter.

The dramatic turnaround in fortunes was due to rising stock markets boosting the value of its investments. Revenues fell slightly to $US29.61 billion.

Successful bets on derivative contracts - complex financial instruments such as futures and options - were an important factor in boosting profits.

The BBC reports the company's loss in the first quarter - its first in eight years - was in part due to badly-timed purchases of oil stocks.

Dubbed the "Sage of Omaha", Mr Buffett is widely celebrated for his investment acumen.