Warren Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders is due out Saturday morning, and it most likely will report a mix of gains and losses.
The Omaha conglomerate's net income probably will show an increase from 2014's $19.9 billion because of a $4.4 billion investment gain in mid 2015 from its one-fourth ownership of Kraft Heinz Foods stock. Analysts surveyed by FactSet estimated that fourth-quarter net income would be up 23.8 percent from a year ago.
But Berkshire's 2015 operating earnings — which Chief Executive Warren Buffett has said is a good measure of company performance because it excludes investment gains or losses — may be flat.
Through the first nine months of 2015, operating earnings were on a pace to match 2014's $16.6 billion.
Losses may come in the form of declining investment value in some of the stocks Berkshire owns. At the end of 2015, IBM's share price was down 21.4 percent from its peak for the year, and American Express was down 17.7 percent.
But for most of those who go to Berkshire's website, berkshirehathaway.com, to read the report after about 7:30 a.m. Saturday, the main attraction will be Buffett's written narrative.
Stockholders, financial experts, professors and the curious typically scan the letter for words of wisdom. Buffett usually provides an extended essay, in recent years writing about investing in a Nebraska farm and New York City real estate, stock dividends and the newspaper industry.
Last year he summarized the 50 years he had headed Berkshire and wrote about the future of the company.
The main topics of this year's letter are still secret, but Buffett, 85, most likely will include comments about Berkshire's acquisitions during the year.
The letter also includes information for shareholders who will attend the company's annual meeting April 30 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha. This year, for the first time, the meeting's question-and-answer session, which usually lasts about five hours, will be shown on the Internet, via live streaming at Yahoo Finance.
The Omaha World-Herald is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.