Categories
Investing

US Bancorp share looks cheap

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(Update) According to Dow Jones News, USB sold 139 million shares at $18 per share. See the news at WSJ.

(Original) When I say cheap, I meant in relative terms.

US Bank logo

My benchmark: Buffett endorsed 2 banks in Berkshire annual shareholder meeting: US Bank (NYSE: USB) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC). Many people did not know current Wells Fargo is not the good old Wells Fargo in the west coast, a little more than 10 years ago Norwest and Wells Fargo merged, and adopted the Wells name. Ok, back to the topic. Both USB and WFC stocks had a fun ride in the last 12 months. But more interestingly, as of today, WFC is down 5% YoY, while USB is down 42%. In the past 12 months a lot things have happened to Wells, the biggest one being the Wachovia acqusition. Both took TARP money. Both issued common stocks: twice for Wells (last Fall and last week), once fot USB (today). But the purpose of issing stocks is slightly different: Wells needed the money for captial, USB needs the money to pay back TARP.

Categories
Master Series

Questions for Warren in this year annual shareholder meeting

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Also collected here.

1. Why invest in Utilities? Does not Utilities need a lot of capital, what’s the difference between Utilities and the original Berkshire (BRK.A, BRK.B) textile business? You did explained in your letter that utilities can deploy capital for a decent return. And I read this old article “Why Buffett is buying utilities” from MSN money (Jim Jubak). Do you agree some of what Jim said?

2. Why keep American Express (NYSE:AXP) and Moody (NYSE:MCO)? Don’t we see the permanent demage of consumer credit, and the rating companies? How about Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC)? Why not sell all Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) shares (noticed you did sell half last year)?

3. Derivatives. There are a lot crititics on this, and you have explain this very well in the shareholder letter. But, as I read “Poor Chariles Almanack”, Charile is much more cautious on derivatives, and its systemantic risk (chain effect of credit risk form counter parties). What’s your comments on over the counter derivatives market in general?

Will add more questions when it pops up.

Disclosure: I sold my remaining BRK.B share yesterday. No positions on the other stocks being mentioned.

Categories
Stocks

Banking crisis?

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It seems the financial crisis has been more like a banking crisis these days, with the RBS virtually nationalized by the British goverment, and Citi and Bank of America increasingly can not stand on its own. The No. 1 and No. 2 US banks according to market cap, J.P.Morgan (NYSE: JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), are also under pressure today, both hovering around $20 and $15, respectively.

RBS telegraph uk
(Source: telegraph.co.uk)

Of course this all happens today as the new US president sworn into office. It appears to me the market does not like the stimulus package proposed by Obama team, or the uncertainty around it? Plus the controversy around his treasury secratery pick. All this bring uncertainty to the market, and we know the market does not like uncertainty.

What will we go from here? Will all the big US banks taken over by the federal goverment? It seems unlikely because this country lives or dies on the private business or entreprenuership. With goverment controlling large banks, it will be like (dare I say) China.

Categories
Investing Shanghai Composite

Bottom fishing time?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Yesterday was another brutal day in the Wall Street, or the Bay Street (Toronto), or SSE (Shanghai Securities Exchange). According to the number, the Dow is now officially in bear territory. General Motor (NYSE:GM), a Dow component and an American icon, hit 53 years low. It closed at $11.43. So, should we go bottom fishing?

I am not a market timer, nor do I like to predict the market trend. But I noticed another interesting article from my friend Wang Jianshuo’s blog: Stock Market Big Drop. Note Jianshuo is not into stock market, a rare type in Shanghai. In other words, when people like Jianshuo started to pay attention to the market, things are either really good or bad (noteworthy). So, the 1 million dollar question: should we go bottom fishing? My answer is be careful, because if we don’t we will catch some falling knives instead 🙁

Some ideas for bottom fishing