Berkshire sets record as Trump boosts prospects, Buffett's wealth

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Nov 11 (Reuters) - Berkshire Hathaway Inc shares posted one of their best weeks in years, soaring 9.5 percent and touching a record high, even though Chairman Warren Buffett's choice for the White House, Hillary Clinton, was defeated by Donald Trump.

The conglomerate's Class A shares closed on Friday up $1,110 at $234,860, a day after surpassing their record set in December 2014. Its Class B shares did even better, rising 9.8 percent.

Berkshire's gains trounced the 3.8 percent increase this week in the Standard & Poor's 500.

They also boosted Buffett's net worth to $70.3 billion, pushing him past Amazon.com Inc's Jeff Bezos to again become the world's third richest person, Forbes magazine said.

Buffett, 86, owns about 18 percent of Berkshire, which he has run from Omaha, Nebraska since 1965.

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Berkshire owns roughly 90 companies including the BNSF railroad, Geico car insurance and several energy and industrial businesses. It also has big stakes in financial stocks such as Wells Fargo & Co and American Express Co.

Many of Berkshire's businesses and investments may benefit if Trump's ascendance to the presidency heralds greater government spending and fewer regulatory hurdles.

BNSF, for example, has seen profit fall 19 percent in 2016, weighed down by declining shipments of coal. But that industry could be buoyed if Trump fulfills his promise to invigorate mining, and perhaps ease limits on carbon emissions.

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Warren Buffett through the years
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Warren Buffett through the years
Warren Buffett speaks to the media during a press conference Monday, June 26, 2006 in New York. Buffet, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, recently announced his intention of giving 10 million shares of his company to charitable organizations, the majority going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (L) cofers with billionaire investor Warren Buffet (R) during a meeting with Wall Street investors at the Ritz Carlton hotel February 25, 2004 in New York City. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Kathy WILLENS (Photo credit should read KATHY WILLENS/AFP/Getty Images)
Investor Warren Buffet participates in the Treasury Conference on U.S. Capital Markets Competitiveness, Tuesday, March 13, 2007, at Georgetown University in Washington. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
CLEVELAND - MARCH 25: Philanthropist Warren Buffet (C) wears a LeBron James Witness tee-shirt as he cheers for the Cleveland Cavaliers during a game against the Denver Nuggets March 25, 2007 at The Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2007 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
** FILE ** In this May 21, 2008 file photo, U.S. Billionaire investor Warren Buffet speaks during a news conference in Madrid. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is investing at least $5 billion in Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Goldman announced Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul White, file)
Warren Buffet, chairman of Bershire Hathaway, arrives for the annual Allen & Co.'s media conference Wednesday, July 9, 2008, in Sun Valley, Idaho. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
FILE - In this May 2, 2009 file photo, Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, right, waves to shareholders prior to the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb. Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway said Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009, it has agreed to buy Burlington Northern Santa Fe in a deal valuing the railroad at $34 billion.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file)
Warren Buffet heads to lunch after a morning session at the Sun Valley Inn for the 2011 Allen and Co. Sun Valley Conference, Thursday, July 7, 2011, in Sun Valley, Idaho. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Warren Buffett is interviewed in the White House Briefing Room in Washington, Monday, July 18, 2011, following his meeting with President Barack Obama. Obama met with members of the Giving Pledge including, Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, and others to receive and update on the program. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Billionaire investor Warren Buffet at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Friday, July 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., right, speaks to David Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group, during the Economic Club of Washington dinner event in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. Buffett said he doesn't expect another U.S. recession unless Europe's crisis spreads. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 18: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett speaks at an event called, 'Detroit Homecoming' September 18, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The purpose of the invitation-only event of Detroit expatriats is to give the group a chance to reconnect, reinvest and reinvent with their hometown. The topic of Buffet's conversation was, 'Why I'm Bullish on Detroit.' (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Warren E. Buffett, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., participates in a NADA Automotive forum happening in conjunction with the New York International Auto Show, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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Meanwhile, shares of Wells Fargo, in which Berkshire owns a 10 percent stake, rose 16 percent this week despite being enmeshed in a scandal over employees who set up accounts without customers' permission, in a drive to meet sales goals.

In an interview broadcast on Friday, Buffett told CNN that Wells Fargo had a "dumb incentive system," and that its former Chief Executive John Stumpf, who left his post in October, was a decent man who nonetheless made a "hell of a mistake" and failed to correct it.

Still, Buffett said he had not sold Wells Fargo shares.

He also remained confident about longer-term prospects for equities, of which Berkshire owned more than $131 billion at the end of September. Berkshire's own market value is roughly $386 billion.

"The stock market will be higher 10, 20, 30 years from now," Buffett told CNN. "It would have been with Hillary, and it ... will be with Trump."

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)


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