Berkshire Hathaway Class A Declines 12.5 Percent In 2015

Berkshire Hathaway Class A Declines 12.5 Percent In 2015

Berkshire Hathaway Class A Declines 12.5 Percent In 2015 by Dr. David Kass

Shares of Berkshire Hathaway Class A declined by 12.5 percent in 2015 to close at $197,800.  The Class B shares fell by 12.1 percent in 2015 and closed at $132.04.

Warren Buffett, in his most recent annual letter to shareholders, provided a 50 year time series of the performance of Berkshire’s stock price versus the S&P 500 with dividends included.  Since the total return to the S&P 500 in 2015 was +1.2 percent, then Berkshire’s Class A shares underperformed that market index by 13.7 percent.  This was fourth worst relative performance for Berkshire in its 51 year history.  Only in the years 1999 (relative performance = -40.9 percent), 1974 (relative performance = – 22.3 percent), and 1990 (relative performance = -20.0 percent) did Berkshire experience larger relative declines in its Class A share price.

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David I Kass Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Finance Ph.D., Harvard University Robert H. Smith School of Business 4412 Van Munching Hall University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742-1815 Phone: 301-405-9683 Email: [email protected] (link sends e-mail) Dr. David Kass has published articles in corporate finance, industrial organization, and health economics. He currently teaches Advanced Financial Management and Business Finance, and is the Faculty Champion for the Accelerated Finance Fellows. Prior to joining the faculty of the Smith School in 2004, he held senior positions with the Federal Government (Federal Trade Commission, General Accounting Office, Department of Defense, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis). Dr. Kass has recently appeared on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, PBS Nightly Business Report, Maryland Public Television, Business News Network TV (Canada), Fox TV, American Public Media's Marketplace Radio, and WYPR Radio (Baltimore), and has been quoted on numerous occasions by Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal, where he has primarily discussed Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. He has also launched a Smith School “Warren Buffett” blog. Dr. Kass has accompanied MBA students on trips to Omaha for private meetings with Warren Buffett, and Finance Fellows to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meetings. He is an officer of the Harvard Business School Club of Washington, DC, and is a member of the investment and budget committees of a local nonprofit organization. Dr. Kass received a Smith School “Top 15% Teaching Award” for the 2009-2010 academic year.
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