By Michelle Jones
It's a big day for Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B), which topped $200,000 for the very first time. Shares rose by more than $1,800 or less than 1% in early trading. To put this into perspective, CNBC reports that by selling just a single Class A share of Berkshire, an investor could buy a "nice 6-bedroom, 4-bath house" in chief Warren Buffett's hometown of Omaha. Fortune adds that a single share of Buffett's company is nearly the price of the national median price for a single-family home, which is $212,400.
Berkshire Hathaway with no stock split
Buffett doesn't like stock splits, which is why his massive conglomerate is able to reach such a high share price. Many companies perform splits for the purpose of keeping their share price under $1,000 or even $100, like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The technology company completed a one-to-six stock split earlier this year to bring its share price to around $100.
Buffett, known affectionately on Wall Street as the Oracle of Omaha, believes that stock splits encourage investors to engage in short-term trading of companies rather than owning a stock for the long term. Buffett has also said that he thinks splitting shares of his company would downgrade the quality of the investment. He said a split would mean that the company's market price is no longer consistently related to its intrinsic value.
Berkshire Hathaway outperforms
Berkshire Hathaway's share price is now the biggest of any U.S.-traded stock by a long shot. In the last Fortune 500 list, Berkshire Hathaway was the fourth biggest company in the U.S. The company's revenue was $182 billion, and its profits were over $19 billion. Last year, Warren Buffett's firm saw a more than 18% increase in book value per share. However, the company underperformed the S&P 500 index. In most cases, Berkshire outperforms the index when it either falls or only rises moderately. However, Buffett's investing style results in underperformance in bull market years.
So far this year, Class A shares of Berkshire Hathaway have climbed by almost 13%, outperforming both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500.