While Berkshire Hathaway's typically has impressive operating cash flow numbers, driven by its insurance holdings, Buffett was a net seller of stocks in the fourth quarter of 2009 to an atypical degree, and Buffett had been a net seller of stocks for much of 2009 as Berkshire Hathaway built up its war chest for the purchase of Burlington Northern.

A big payday from Swiss Re in 2011 may make the typically solid operating cash flow from Berkshire Hathaway that much better, in the same way that the preferred shares of Goldman have already reaped short-term rewards for Berkshire investors.

It's good to the borrower and lender that everyone turns to at times of crises.

-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.


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