Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway spent the first quarter, a period of historic turmoil fueled by COVID-19, stockpiling cash to record proportions, public filings show. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208872451/composite BRK.A +3.07% /zigman2/quotes/200060694/composite BRK.B +3.12% apparently saw its holdings of cash and equivalents balloon to a record $137.2 billion at the end of the first quarter, up from about $128 billion at year-end, suggesting that the legendary investor, viewed as a white knight of sorts on Wall Street, has stayed on the sidelines amid one of the most turbulent periods in financial markets in decades. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.55% , the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.95% and the Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.55% all tumbled into a bear-market in March, typically defined as a drop of at least 20% from a recent high, hit the lows of that rout on March 23. Since that point, however, stocks have climbed by more than 20% as the market attempted to recover from the effects of the worst pandemic in more than a 100 years--one that caused economies to fall into a recessionary state as businesses across the globe were forced to shut down to slow the spread of the deadly pathogen. Berkshire also has been hit by the epidemic that has infected more than 3.3 million people and claimed about 240,000 lives globally since the illness was first identified in December in Wuhan, China. The conglomerate reported a huge first quarter loss of $49.7 billion, or $30,653 per class A share. However, Berkshire's first-quarter operating earnings were $5.9 billion or about $3,619 per class A share. Buffett is scheduled to host a annual shareholder meeting later today at 4:45 p.m. Eastern Time, where he may offer more clues on his strategy during this public-health crisis.