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Buffett bets on Wells, US Bancorp

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From Yahoo Tech-ticker.

I don’t know about Wells, but I have US Bancorp shares (NYSE: USB). The stock appears expensive if you look at the price book ratio, which is a common metric to measure bank stocks. But USB is a very different bank compared to others, it’s a conservative lender. Since I opened my checking account with USB a few weeks ago, I had opportunity to visit the branch, it’s clean, and looks much sharp then the Bank of America branches I visited. Maybe, USB could get some deposit base from B of A, amid all the controversies around B of A. The USB stock was obviously knocked down last week due to secondary offering (raise money to repay TARP, or to get out of TRAP to be more precise). Today it got a nice bump from Buffett endorsement.

Reference: gurufocus Buffett buy.

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Master Series

Buffett NRG Energy average cost

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From gurufocus, we can see investor gurus like Buffett’s buy and sell actions, usually 45 after the close of a quarter. NRG Energy is an interesting one, because it’s going to build the first nuclear power plant in the US for 30 years, and the offer Exelon put up last Oct. (0.485 share of Exelon for each share of NRG). More interestingly, Buffett’s Berkshire started buying NRG since last year. Here is the transactions: http://www.gurufocus.com/StockBuy.php?action=buy&GuruName=Warren+Buffett

2Q 08: $42.40 * 3,280,100 = 139,076,240
3Q 08: $35.50 * (5,000,000 – 3,280,100) = 61,056,450
4Q 08: $21.50 * 2,200,000 = 47,300,000

By my calculation average cost Buffett paid for NRG is 247,432,690/7,200,000 = $34.3657

Buying a stock Buffett was buying gives one some comfort because Buffett usually did his homework, and adhere to his rules (business; moat; management; price etc). Buying a stock at discount of the price Buffett paid offers some margin of safety. BTW, NRG closed at $18.33 today, about 50% of the Buffett price 🙂

Downside
The main downside of NRG is more than 50% of shareholders already accepted the tend offer from Exelon (they surrendered). Exelon extends tend offer till June 26. So hold on the stocks, just like the Oralce of Omaha does.