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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 214659  
Subject: Past Four Years Date: 9/20/2012 9:47 AM
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Berkshire closed at $133,000 yesterday which is the highest closing price 
since October 3, 2008.  Roughly four years.  It is interesting to take a
 look at the drivers of shareholders equity from 9/30/2008 to 6/30/2012 and 
then my (probably low) estimates for current shareholders equity based on the 
movements in the portfolio reported on form 13F and an assumption of $1B/month
of net income:

figures in millions	                       9/30/2008	6/30/2012	Current (est)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Components of Shareholders' Equity:			
  Common stock, Class A and B	                       8 	        8 	           8 
  Capital in excess of par value	          27,133 	   37,856 	      37,856 
  Accumulated other comprehensive income	  15,984 	   23,781 	      25,981 
  Retained earnings	                          77,030 	  115,801 	     118,801 
  Treasury stock, at cost	                       -   	     (67)	        (67)
Total shareholders equity	                 120,155 	  177,379 	     182,579 
Shares outstanding, A equivalent	            1.55 	     1.65 	        1.65 
Book value per A share	                          77,558 	  107,377 	     110,525 
Closing share price	                         130,600 	  124,945 	     133,000 
Price/Book Ratio	                            1.68 	     1.16 	        1.20 

Statistics:

4 year compound growth in shareholders equity: 11%
4 year compound growth in shareholders equity/share:  9.3%
Cumulative retained earnings over four years:  $41.8 billion

4 year compound growth in share price:  0.46%

Share price today if 9/30/2008 P/B had remained constant: $185,682
Share price on 9/30/2008 if current P/B prevailed as of that date:  $93,070

Growth in shares outstanding:  6.6%

Query:

Given the state of the world in late September 2008, how many of us would have predicted:

(a) That Berkshire would accumulate over $40 billion of retained earnings over the 
    next four years?

(b) That Berkshire would compound book value/share at nearly ten percent over the
    next four years?

(c) That the price/book ratio would contract from 1.68 to 1.20 in response to (a) and (b)

(d) That Berkshire's compound rate of return on stock price would be 46 BASIS POINTS 
    annualized over four years?


“If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

– Herbert Stein
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