Buffett says Wells Fargo to ride out credit crisis
OMAHA, Nebraska |
OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Warren Buffett on Saturday expressed strong support for Wells Fargo, one of the largest equity holdings of his Berkshire Hathaway, saying it is a "fabulous" bank that is well-positioned to ride out the financial crisis.
Buffett said the fourth-largest U.S. bank is strong enough to add client relationships and deposits, earn a good spread on its assets and liabilities and to absorb the troubled Wachovia Corp.
"Wells Fargo will be a lot better off in a couple of years than if none of this had happened," Buffett said at Berkshire's annual meeting. Noting that Wells Fargo shares fell below $9 (6 pounds) each this year -- they bottomed at $7.80 on March 5 -- he added that at that lowered price, "If I had put all my net worth in one stock, that would be the stock."
At year end, Berkshire owned 304.4 million Wells Fargo shares, a 7.2 percent stake, valued at $8.97 billion, according to its annual report. Wells Fargo was the company's largest equity holding other than Coca-Cola.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Lilla Zuill)
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