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Profit up 87% at Buffett’s firm but virus slows businesses

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett’s company reported an 87% jump in its second-quarter profit as the value of its…

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett’s company reported an 87% jump in its second-quarter profit as the value of its investment portfolio increased with the stock market, but it took a roughly $10 billion write down on the value of its aircraft parts manufacturing business because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said Saturday that it earned $26.3 billion, or $16,314 per Class A share, during the second quarter. That’s up from $14.1 billion, or $8,608 per share, a year ago.

Berkshire said it cut the value of its Precision Castparts unit because of how much the pandemic has hurt air travel and businesses that support that airline industry.

Buffett has long said Berkshire’s operating earnings offer a better view of quarterly performance because they exclude investments and derivatives, which can vary widely. By that measure, Berkshire’s operating earnings declined 10% to $5.5 billion, or $3,420.48 per Class A share, as most of its businesses were hurt by restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. That’s down from $6.1 billion, or $3,754.83 per share.

The analysts surveyed by FactSet expected operating earnings per Class A share of $3,182.06.

Berkshire was holding nearly $147 billion cash and short-term investments at the end of the second quarter, but Buffett did use $5.1 billion during the quarter to repurchase Berkshire shares.

Buffett also found a way to use more of that cash after the quarter ended. First, he agreed to buy Dominion Energy’s natural gas pipeline and storage business for $4 billion and take on $5.7 billion of Dominion debt. Then Buffett’s company bought roughly $2.1 billion worth of Bank of America stock in late July and early August to give it control of 11.9% of the bank’s stock.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owns more than 90 companies, including BNSF railroad and insurance, utility, furniture and jewelry businesses. The company also has major investments in such companies as Apple, American Express, Coca-Cola and Bank of America.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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CaixaBank and Bankia merge paving the way for Spain to create biggest domestic bank worth more than $786 billion

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FILE PHOTO: An Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) is seen on a balcony near a Caixa bank branch in Barcelona, Spain October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: An Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) is seen on a balcony near a Caixa bank branch in Barcelona


  • CaixaBank and Bankia received approval from their boards to merge, creating a bank worth more than $786 billion on Friday. 
  • CaixaBank will exchange 0.6845 of its shares for one Bankia share.
  • The new bank will operate under CaixaBank’s brand and will have more 20 million customers.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

CaixaBank and Spanish-state owned Bankia said on Friday they had got the greenlight from their boards to merge, creating the country’s largest domestic bank.

The deal will create a bank with assets of more than $786 billion. CaixaBank will exchange 0.6845 of its shares for one share in Bankia.

The operation is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, as the merger still needs to be approved by both banks’ shareholders, as well as various regulatory and competition authorities. 

 “The combined entity’s total assets will exceed 664 billion euros, a volume that will make it the largest bank in the domestic market, with an important position at a European level and a market capitalization of over 16 billion euros,” the banks said in a joint statement.

Read more: 3 top investing executives lay out the biggest risks to markets heading into a volatile election season – and share their best recommendations for navigating what happens next

The new bank that will operate under the CaixaBank brand increases the group’s retail banking exposure and will have more than 20 million customers.

“With this operation, we will become the leading Spanish bank at a time when it is more necessary than ever to create entities with a significant size, thus contributing to supporting the needs of families and companies, and to reinforcing the strength of the financial system,” Bankia chairman José Ignacio Goirigolzarri said.

Goirigolzarri will become executive chairman of the combined bank, while CaixaBank CEO Gonzalo Gortázar will become CEO of the newly created entity. 

Read more: Goldman Sachs says oil prices are set to move ‘meaningfully higher’ into next year. Here are 7 reasons why the firm is bullish, and 5 stocks it recommends buying in advance

“The merger will allow us to face the challenges of the next 10 years with greater scale, financial strength and profitability, resulting in greater value for our shareholders, more opportunities for our employees, better service to our clients and a greater capacity to support Spain’s economic recovery,” Gortázar said.

Banks across Europe are grappling with low interest-rate environment and the impact of COVID-19. 

Bankia is often compared with Lehman Brothers, the US investment bank whose collapse in late 2008 unleashed the financial crisis. Bankia was Spain’s biggest mortgage lender until the euro zone debt crisis in 2012 pulverized the country’s banking sector, triggering a a 22.4 billion euros ($26.6 billion) state bailout.

As of 05:30 am. ET, CaixaBank’s shares were up 0.6% at 2.06 euros ($2.5) and Bankia’s shares were down 2.2% at 1.4 euros ($1.7). 

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Dubuque business helps feed those struggling due to COVID-19 pandemic

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) – Aside from being a restaurant, staff at Convivium Urban Farmstead in Dubuque try to grow their own produce and offer cooking classes.

Logically, those classes were affected because of COVID-19.

“We had 3,000 pounds of produce that we did not know what to do with or did not have an outlet for, and we thought, ‘Why don’t we try and figure out a way to use this and give back to the community, especially during this, during COVID,” Leslie Shalabi, co-founder of Convivium, said.

And that is how the Free Take N’ Bake Casserole program was born. Every Thursday for, at least, twelve weeks, staff and volunteers will be giving out free casseroles aimed to help those who are struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Natalie Roling, Convivium education and program director, the experience has been rewarding.

“People are stretched thin, maybe working double shifts,” she mentioned. “It is just helpful to not have to think about maybe this one meal.”

“We are not solving the entire problem, but we are helping in the ways that we can,” Shalabi said. “For me this is just one concrete way that I am putting my energy to try to help.”

Zandra Schonhoff was first in line Thursday to grab her free casserole. She had already stopped by last week.

“This is first on the list,” she said. “When I wake up, this is right where I am going first thing.”

For her, it is crucial to secure healthy meals. That is something she said she has struggled with during the pandemic.

“It is really hard to make sure you are eating right and with this program, I mean, I have cancer so it is absolutely perfect to make sure I am getting a good meal,” she mentioned.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct Head To Business Owner: ‘Reinforcements Aren’t Coming Any Time Soon’ – WCCO

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s no long-term plan, and reinforcements aren’t coming anytime soon.

That’s what the head of the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct said in an email to a business owner who shared that his employees are scared to go to work.

READ MORE: Temporary Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct Plan Dropped After Negotiations With Property Owners Reach Impasse

The neighborhood block of shops near East 48th Street and Chicago Avenue has felt the impact of recent crime. Craig Paulson owns Pedego Electric Bikes.

“Couple robberies. Two, three robberies in the area, and some break-ins and a couple of crazy stunts,” Paulson said.

Surveillance video shows a group accused of robbing Chad Stamps’ wife inside her gift shop, 14 Hill, during the lunch hour earlier this month.

“So they stole our car, stole our wallet, checkbook, everything,” Stamps said.

Stamps says one of the suspects punched someone trying to help her.

There’s a window broken at Town Hall Tap. Someone opened fire inside the Pizza Hut. The employee who was there has now quit. And a car flying down the street crashed into a bus stop and business.

Russell Hrubesky lives and works nearby.

“I’m scared for my coworkers, but it’s worrisome to see people that I care about just kind of in a dangerous area,” Hrubesky said.

A nearby business relayed a similar message to the inspector of the 3rd Precinct via email. They also sharing it’s hard to find employees who want to work in the area, and they are asking for a long-term plan.

Here is the response they received from Inspector Sean McGinty:

As far as a long-term plan I don’t have one. I have lost 30% of my street officers since the end of May. Budget cuts from COVID-19 and an additional 1.5 million from the council in August we have let go 17 CSO’s and cancelled a recruit class of 29. A potential Cadet class slated for January of 2021 was also eliminated. I takes about a year to get a police Officer onto the streets with hiring, backgrounds and field training so reinforcements aren’t coming anytime soon. We are doing everything we can with what we have. I hate to see great businesses like yours and the rest of your corridor being victimized and feeling unsafe. Please let me know if you have any more questions.

“It does erode the confidence in the neighborhood of the people and being able to feel safe coming down here,” Stamps said.

The Stamps store was hit a year ago, too. They say they’re not going anywhere, but lawlessness can’t continue.

“Nothing changed before and nothing’s changed now, except that these criminals have gotten more emboldened about doing this,” Stamps said.

Pedego Electric Bikes recently added a lock and doorbell.

“To say it doesn’t make you a little bit nervous, of course it does. And nobody wants a gun drawn on them. It’s always in the back of your mind,” Paulson said.

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation, gave WCCO this statement:

The Inspector gave an excellent summary. I think the only plan city leadership has is to further decimate its police department. Businesses and people will continue to flee the city. And rightfully so.

Minneapolis City Councilmember Jeremy Schroeder, whose ward covers part of the third precinct, said this:

The Minneapolis Police Department currently has a budget of more than $180,000,000. Chief Arradondo reassured the City Council and the public this week that MPD is fully staffed in terms of patrols. The inspector’s stated lack of a plan is frustrating given the severity of safety concerns and the fact that MPD today has one of the largest budgets of any City department.

Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins gave WCCO this statement:

I am deeply disturbed by the increase in violent break-in and robberies specifically in this area near 48th and Chicago, and throughout the city. Small business is the lifeblood of this community and we cannot afford to allow them to continue to suffer these losses. Inspector McGinty and his staff have made some arrests in these incidents, and will continue to do their jobs with the resources that have on hand, but we know that preventing crime has to be a part of our Continuum of Public Safety as well. That means more investments in job training and opportunities, access to safe and affordable housing and other measures to steer young people towards positive pursuits.

The message from the community: City leaders need to sort out what’s going on.

“Kick it into gear, man. You got to figure it out,” Hrubesky said.

The inspector’s email came just a day after the chief assured city council members there were enough patrol officers to respond.

Minneapolis Police told WCCO, “In these very challenging times of COVID, budget cuts and retirements, the MPD continues to evaluate and reallocate the resources that we currently have to best serve the City of Minneapolis, focusing on the core responsibilities of a police department; responding to 911 calls and investigations.”

Police also said the inspector was referencing the George Floyd memorial at East Street and Chicago Avenue when he said he didn’t have a plan. The business owner says that site wasn’t mentioned in their exchange.

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