Warren Buffett kicked off Berkshire Hathaway’s (brk-a) annual meeting with a review of how his insurance conglomerate did in the first quarter.
It wasn’t good. And that’s not a great sign for the economy. Berkshire is one of the largest companies in the nation that earnings primarily all of its earnings in the U.S.
Insurance revenue was down, Buffett said because of hail storms in Texas. Railroad earnings were down as well, Buffett said that was because loads were down, especially from the energy sector.
Revenue from Berkshire’s manufacturing sector was up. But Buffett said that part of that rise was the fact that Berkshire had made some acquisitions that added to the segment. Also, for the first time Berkshire’s earnings include Precision Castparts, which it bought last summer, but completed the acquisition at the start of the year. Overall, earnings did climb 8% to nearly $5.6 billion in the quarter. Here’s the results.