5. Berkshire Hathaway
Shares of Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.B) closed at $77.97 Monday, trading for 14.4 times the consensus 2013 earnings estimate of $5.43, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2014 EPS estimate is $5.83. Berkshire's Class B shares were up 4% year-to-date through Monday's close, after returning 11% during 2012. The consensus fourth-quarter earnings estimate for the Class B shares is $1.13, declining from $1.37 in the third quarter, but increasing from $1.08 in the fourth quarter of 2011. Unlike several other companies with a major property and casualty presence in the Northeast, Berkshire Hathaway has not announced a loss estimate from Hurricane Sandy. Of course, the company is involved in other businesses besides insurance, but insurance revenues made up 77% of total revenue during the first three quarters of 2012. During 2011, the company's pre-tax underwriting gain for its combined insurance businesses was $248 million. For the first three quarters of 2012, Berkshire's combined underwriting gain for its property and casualty insurance business was $354 million. BRK.B data by YCharts
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