Warren Buffett loves Wells Fargo
Or should you? Buffett loves Wells Fargo's diversification and conservative management (at least relative to the high-risk gambles of some of its banking peers). And Buffett is bullish on the business of banking coming out of the crisis. In a low interest rate environment, Wells Fargo's cost of funds goes way down, and the spread it makes on lending money goes up. In contrast, those who are bearish on Wells Fargo point to the slashing of its dividend, and the relative instability of the financial system and the U.S. dollar generally.
Should you follow Buffett and buy Wells Fargo, or are there other financial firms that are in a better position to put more money in your pocket?
And the nominees are:
Our 165,000-member CAPS community views Royal Bank of Canada
RBC is the biggest bank in Canada and is often touted as among the best in the world. Asset management side of RBC's US division has attracted some of the best money managers out there. London division doing very well. RBC also investing heavily in growing Asian markets. Good dividends.
Currently, Royal Bank of Canada hardly looks cheap with a price-to-tangible book of 3.1 compared with Wells Fargo's 1.9. On the other hand, it provides a much more attractive dividend yield: 3.9% versus 0.8% for Wells Fargo. Also, Royal Bank of Canada posted the strongest gross domestic product growth in a decade in Q1 of 2010, and forecasts a healthy 3.6% GDP growth for the year. If Canada's economy continues to show strong growth and the U.S. economy continues to disappoint, then there's good reason to look at Royal Bank of Canada as an attractive alternative to Wells Fargo for your portfolio.
And if you're looking for a Berkshire Hathaway-like financial conglomerate that is run by someone many refer to as the Asian Warren Buffett, then the CAPS community points us toward Cheung Kong (Holdings)
Li Ka-shing (a financial genius and the richest man in Asia as a result) runs this eclectic group (ports; electricity; telecom; real estate). Concentrated in Asia, [Cheung Kong] has projects worldwide. Just playing follow the Asian [Buffett] here...it is difficult to imagine [Ka-shing] can't beat the S&P.
Marty Whitman certainly agrees and has about 13% of his portfolio in Cheung Kong, but you might want to fully understand the potential risks in investing in a company that has exposure to Hong Kong's overheated real estate market.
Make your vote count!
Do you agree that Royal Bank of Canada and Cheung Kong may be better buys than Wells Fargo? Click over to CAPS and let the rest of the community know what you think.