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Berkshire Hathaway surpasses Meta Platforms in valuation, demonstrating Warren Buffett’s long-term focus.

Meta stock plummeted as much as 27% on Thursday, slashing the social-media group’s market capitalization to below $660 billion. It’s now worth almost $50 billion less than Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, after exceeding the famed investor’s company in market value for nearly two years.

The parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus shocked the market by reporting its first-ever decline in daily active users on Wednesday. The company also suffered an 8% decline in net income last quarter, and warned that changes to data privacy on Apple devices, along with fierce competition from TikTok, could weigh on its advertising business.

Meta stock soared as much as 150% between March 2020 — the last time it was worth less than Berkshire — and September 2021. However, its stock has plunged by 29% this year, while Berkshire shares have climbed 5%.

That divergence partly reflects the prospect of interest-rate hikes this year, which has spurred investors to dump riskier technology stocks and plow their money into safer value stocks.

Mark Zuckerberg’s company is investing heavily in virtual reality, the metaverse, and other emerging technologies. Meanwhile, Berkshire owns simpler businesses such as Geico and See’s Candies, and operates in real-world industries such as insurance, energy, manufacturing, retail, and transportation.

Berkshire and Meta were worth similar amounts between 2016 and the spring of 2020, but their market caps diverged sharply after the pandemic struck the US.

Meta stock soared as investors wagered that lockdowns and travel restrictions would boost demand for remote communication and digital entertainment. Berkshire shares climbed much more slowly, as many of the conglomerate’s businesses were severely disrupted and temporarily shut down by COVID-19.

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