Buffett once again confronted a record cash pile of $43 billion at the end of 2004 after saying he “struck out” on several multibillion-dollar acquisitions. That time, the level stayed relatively consistent until 2008, when financial markets fell into disarray and Berkshire went to work, lending billions to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and General Electric Co.

Now, the question for investors is how long is Buffett willing to wait to find reasonably priced opportunities. After holding onto more than $100 billion of cash since the end of 2017, he pulled the trigger on more share repurchases last year, a route he had avoided over Berkshire’s history. While he considered using buybacks in 2000 when Berkshire’s Class A stock dipped below $45,000, he eventually delayed any move.

“Long-term, just trusting them has really proven to be the right strategy,” Paul Lountzis, president of Lountzis Asset Management which oversees more than $200 million including investments in Berkshire stock. “Very few people would have the courage as CEOs of companies to sit around and be patient like they are. He can afford to do it based on his track record.”

Some of the cash pile is set to be put to work soon. Berkshire agreed to inject $10 billion of preferred equity in Occidental Petroleum Corp. to help finance an acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., a deal that will be completed if Anadarko shareholders approve the merger later this month.

Last year, Buffett said prices for deals were too high for his liking, so he spent more than $15 billion on shares of Apple. He also bulked up on banks and airlines, but the stakes in many of those companies are now near the 10% ownership threshold that he’s said he prefers not to cross. He even passed that level with his Bank of America Corp. stake last month.

While Buffett’s preference in recent years has been to acquire operating companies, his increased stakes in big public companies have helped him trim the cash level, Lountzis said.

“If he had not done that, the amount of cash on the books would just be frightening,” Lountzis said.

Berkshire’s $400 million of buybacks in the quarter was down from $1.7 billion in the first three months of the year. That total fell short of the $1.5 billion expected by Barclays Plc analysts. Berkshire’s board changed its buyback policy last year as another way to deploy the mammoth cash pile, but Buffett has kept buybacks relatively limited, only repurchasing a total of $3.4 billion since the policy tweak. JPMorgan Chase & Co., the closest financial firm to Berkshire in market value, has bought back about $20 billion in that time.

Berkshire’s Class A shares slipped 1.6% to $301,200 at 9:42 a.m. in New York after reporting on Saturday that second-quarter operating profit fell 11%. Worse underwriting results at its group of insurers including Geico weighed on profit.

The stock market’s march higher is limiting Buffett’s opportunities, but it has pushed his stock portfolio above $200 billion in value and driven higher earnings. New accounting rules cause unrealized gains to be included in profit, so the company’s $7.9 billion in investment gains drove net income to a 17% jump.