Fourth-quarter operating income rose to $5.02 billion, or approximately $3,252 per Class A share, from $4.42 billion, a year earlier.
Net income, reflecting the stock gains, rose 23 per cent to $35.84 billion from $29.16 billion a year earlier.
For all of 2020, operating income fell 9 per cent to $21.92 billion, while net income fell 48 per cent to $81.42 billion.
Berkshire, whose shares trailed the broader market over the last decade and significantly in 2019 and 2020, repurchased about $9 billion of stock in the quarter, a sign Buffett considers his Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate undervalued.
For all of 2020, Berkshire said it bought back $24.7 billion of its own stock, topping its old record $5 billion in 2019.
“At a discount of 40 per cent to intrinsic value, the repurchases looked extraordinarily compelling,” said Tom Russo, a partner at Gardner, Russo & Gardner in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a longtime Berkshire shareholder. “Repurchases capture forever the benefits of Berkshire’s businesses for the remaining shareholders.”
Berkshire stock has risen 4.8 per cent this year, beating the Standard & Poor’s 500’s 1.5 per cent gain.