KBW’s Shields says he expects Berkshire to report about $536 million in share buybacks. UBS analysts are assuming that Berkshire repurchased around $900 million of its stock in the quarter. Both estimates would outpace its repurchases in the second quarter.

“I don’t think it’s evolved enough,” Seifert said of Berkshire’s buyback policy. “I think it was, in some respects, a way to placate shareholders.”

Insurers including Travelers Cos. are warning about challenging legal issues. Travelers CEO Alan Schnitzer has said he’s seen a “more aggressive” level of attorney involvement on some claims. That could factor into Berkshire’s insurance results, according to KBW’s Shields.

“Companies are acknowledging that the environment for litigation has gotten more difficult,” Shields said.

Shields also said that rate cuts at auto insurer Geico could weigh on margins, even if it sees faster policy growth.

And natural catastrophes hit during the quarter, including Typhoon Faxai and Hurricane Dorian. The typhoon, which pummeled Japan in September, caused as much as $7 billion in insured losses, according to risk modeler AIR Worldwide. Dorian tore through the Bahamas in the third quarter, leaving behind as much as $3 billion in estimated insured losses.

Rail Recession
U.S. railroads have been dealing with the fallout from trade disputes, leading to concerns about a “rail recession.” BNSF’s rival in the Western U.S., Union Pacific Corp., reported third-quarter profit that missed analyst estimates and the steepest drop in carloads in three years.

UBS analysts said in a note that BNSF’s volumes probably declined in the third quarter, but the railroad might benefit from a boost in revenue per car.

“They have one of the top franchises in the industry, but there’s some cyclical pressures there,” Seifert said.

Market Swings
Gyrations in Berkshire’s $200 billion stock portfolio now factor into net income, an accounting change that Buffett says investors should look past. Barclays Plc said the investment gains could total $7 billion before taxes.