Speaking to shareholders, Buffett said: "The question is, 'Are we going to be able to deploy it?' I would say that history is on our side, but it would be more fun if the phone would ring".
The catch here is that Buffett has a very narrow list when it comes to the number of companies he wants to own, as per a statement by an investment officer at Wedgewood Partners. Analysts had expected operating earnings - the metric that Buffett encourages investors to follow - of about $2,791 per share.
It's not as if Buffett and Berkshire haven't been active: He has made investments in technology-sector titan Apple, as well as in a real estate investment trust and a mortgage lender, and early last month, he agreed to pay $9 billion for Energy Future holdings, the biggest electric utility company in the state of Texas, according to Bloomberg. Then, in June, Berkshire made two smaller equity investments.
Berkshire's utility arms also struck a deal last month to buy Texas's largest electric utility for about United States dollars 9 billion. The transaction is being challenged by Paul Singer's Elliott Management Corp., but completing it would make a sizable dent in the cash hoard.
Buffett believes operating income is a better gauge of how Berkshire and its more than 90 businesses are doing than net income, which fluctuates more because it incorporates investment and derivative gains, which fell 64 percent from a year earlier. The growing cash pile means that Buffett is in no hurry and may wait for the right opportunity.
Warren Buffett's conglomerate had operating earnings of $4.12 billion, or $2,505 per Class A share, for the quarter, down 11% from $4.61 billion, or $2,803 per share, a year earlier.
"They had a good quarter", said Bill Smead, chief executive of Smead Capital Management Inc in Seattle, which owns Berkshire shares.