200000 a Share Buffetts Berkshire Hits Record High

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett waves after ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in this September 2011 file photo. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

$200,000 a Share: Buffett's Berkshire Hits Record High

Shares in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway group top $200,000 apiece for the first time, some eight years after breaking the $100,000 barrier.

NEW YORK -- Shares in U.S. investment star Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway group topped $200,000 apiece for the first time Thursday, less than eight years after breaking the $100,000 barrier.

Already the priciest on U.S. markets, Berkshire shares got even more expensive for investors in a 7.5% climb since the company announced record quarterly earnings at the start of August.

In midday trade, Berkshire A shares were up $2,495.64, or 1.3%, to $202,104.64.

Buffett has become a legend for the performance of Berkshire, which has a large number of majority and minority investments in everything from small jewelry and furniture retailers to insurance giants Geico and General Re, chemicals group Lubrizol, Coca-Cola (IW 500/28) (KO), IBM (IW 500/11) (IBM), American Express, Wells Fargo Bank and dozens of others.

The company's long-term gains have made Buffett the world's third wealthiest man, his fortune worth $65.9 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

After crossing the $100,000 line in October 2006, Berkshire shares have easily outperformed gauges like the S&P 500 broad-market index, up only 43% since then, further burnishing Buffett's star as the "Oracle of Omaha," the Nebraska city where he lives.

Analyst Regrets Missing the Boat

S&P Dow Jones index analyst Howard Silverblatt rued not having bought Berkshire shares early on.

"Warren has returned 22.6% per year compounded since it crossed $100 in May 1977—the month I started at S&P," Silverblatt said. "I should have indexed my pay check against it; [I] would be making almost half-a-million dollars a week."

But the company's future remains under a huge question mark regarding who will replace Buffett, 83. He has not said when he will retire but regularly says a solid succession plan has been mapped out.

To make the shares more accessible to small investors, Berkshire created a second class in 1996 when the A shares rose to around $33,000 each. The B shares, labeled "Baby Berkshires" at the time, went out at just $1,000.

Eventually they grew out of reach of small market players, and underwent a 50-to-1 split in 2010, a move also made to help the company finalize its takeover of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad.

On Thursday the B shares were up 1.3% to $134.79.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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