By Jonathan Stempel

OMAHA, Neb. (Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc dove into equity markets in the first quarter, spending more than $51 billion on stocks including a much larger stake in Chevron Corp

Berkshire, which Buffett has run since 1965, also said on Saturday quarterly operating profit was little changed from a year earlier, as improved results from several business lines offset lower profit from insurance underwriting.

Berkshire said it repurchased $3.2 billion of its own stock in the quarter, but none in the first three weeks of April.

The disclosures suggest that Buffett has finally found large new uses to dispose of Berkshire’s cash pile, which shrank more than $40 billion to about $106 billion in the quarter.

Berkshire boosted its stake in Chevron to $25.9 billion as of March 31 from just $4.5 billion three months earlier, as oil prices surged higher following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The increased Chevron stake comes on the heels of Berkshire’s purchase of well over $6 billion of stock in Occidental Petroleum Corp, where it already had a $10 billion preferred stock stake.

Buffett has also committed $11.6 billion to buy insurance company Alleghany Corp, and bought $4.2 billion of HP Inc stock.

First-quarter operating profit edged up to $7.04 billion, or about $4,786 per Class A share, from $7.02 billion a year earlier.

Berkshire’s dozens of businesses include the BNSF railroad, Geico auto insurance, as well as Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which produces relatively stable income streams.

Net income totaled $5.46 billion, or $3,702 per Class A share, compared with $11.71 billion, or $7,638 per Class A share, a year earlier.

Berkshire net results include unrealized gains and losses from stocks including Apple Inc, as well as Chevron.

An accounting rule requires Berkshire to report such gains and losses with net results, and Buffett urges investors to ignore the resulting volatility.

Berkshire released results ahead of its first in-person annual shareholder meeting since 2019 in Omaha, Nebraska, where the company is based.

Berkshire’s Class A shares are up more than 7% this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 has fallen 13%.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in Omaha, Nebraska; Editing by Catherine Evans and Ros Russell)