Not even Warren E. Buffett was spared financially from the coronavirus, as his conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, reported a $49.7 billion loss within the first quarter on Saturday, reflecting the outbreak’s toll on an funding portfolio that features massive stakes in main airways and monetary corporations.The loss was Berkshire’s greatest ever and a pointy swing from a $21.7 billion revenue in the identical quarter a 12 months earlier. The conglomerate’s huge array of investments uncovered it — and Mr. Buffett, lengthy thought-about one of many world’s high buyers — to large swaths of the battered American financial system.Its complete funding loss for the quarter, with out accounting for working earnings, was $54.5 billion. By comparability, its funding achieve in all of 2019 was $56.three billion.Berkshire’s funding loss tracked the general slide in stock markets: The S&P 500 dropped 20 % within the first quarter. (The corporate’s greatest holdings are additionally mainstays of the S&P 500: American Categorical, Apple, Financial institution of America, Coca-Cola and Wells Fargo, with these stakes amounting to just about $125 billion.)The loss overshadowed a 6 % rise in Berkshire’s working earnings, which monitor the efficiency of the corporate’s owned-and-operated companies just like the insurer Geico. Mr. Buffett regards that as a greater measure of the corporate’s total efficiency and has lengthy argued that quarterly paper positive aspects or losses on its investments “are often meaningless” in understanding its total well being.However it’s onerous to disregard the harm to a portfolio that features stakes in monetary corporations like Financial institution of America and American Categorical, each of which reported steep drops in earnings for the primary quarter, and 4 of the most important U.S. airways. (Berkshire additionally disclosed that the value of its stake in Kraft Heinz on its books exceeds the market value of that holding by about 40 %, and warned that it might need to take a write-down on the funding sooner or later.)Even a few of the conglomerate’s wholly owned companies, just like the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad and retailers like See’s Sweet, have been harm by the lockdowns which have shaken the U.S. financial system. Nonetheless, Geico reported a 28 % achieve for the quarter, to $984 million, whereas Berkshire’s total insurance coverage funding income rose modestly due to elevated dividend revenue for the corporate.The primary-quarter outcomes have been launched forward of Berkshire’s first-ever online-only annual shareholder assembly. It’s a change, made obligatory by the pandemic, to an occasion that normally attracts tens of 1000’s of buyers to an area in Omaha to take heed to Mr. Buffett expound on the state of capitalism, enterprise, politics and rather more.Absent from the assembly shall be Berkshire’s 96-year-old vice chairman, Charles T. Munger, who lives in Los Angeles. However Gregory Abel, who’s certainly one of Berkshire’s high executives and thought of a possible successor to Mr. Buffett, will attend in particular person.Shareholders, who can submit questions for Mr. Buffett to reply dwell, are more likely to be serious about what funding alternatives lie forward for Berkshire, which reported having $137.three billion in cash on the finish of the quarter. In distinction to his actions through the monetary disaster of 2008, when Mr. Buffett prolonged lifelines to American company giants — on vastly worthwhile phrases for himself — he has not talked about what bargains exist within the pandemic period.