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Berkshire Hathaway’s operating earnings jump 21% as recovering economy boosts railroad, energy units

Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Los Angeles, California. May 1, 2021.

Gerard Miller | CNBC

Berkshire Hathaway’s operating income continued to rebound as its myriad of businesses from energy to railroads benefited from the economic reopening.

The conglomerate reported operating earnings of $6.69 billion in the second quarter, up 21% from $5.51 billion in the same period a year ago, according to its earnings report released on Saturday.

Overall earnings, which reflect Berkshire’s fluctuating equity investments, increased 6.8% year over year to $28 billion in the second quarter.

Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett kept buying back Berkshire shares aggressively instead of making sizable acquisitions. The company repurchased $6 billion of its own stock in the second quarter, bringing the six month total to $12.6 billion. Berkshire bought a record $24.7 billion of its own stock last year.

At the end of June, Berkshire’s cash pile stood at $144.1 billion, holding steady from last quarter’s level and still near a record despite the company’s massive buyback program.

The results came as the conglomerate’s stock wiped out all of its 2020 losses and hit a record high in the period. So far in third quarter, Berkshire’s B shares are u