The financials sector is never short on news, but if you're short on time, let me do the leg work for you. I've dug through the Fool's financial sector coverage over the past week to highlight three stories you don't want to overlook.
Read on for this week's big news.
1. Billionaire Banker Has Bank of America in His Sights
Are Andrew Beal and CXA Corp. about to beat up on the big banks? Amanda Alix attempts to answer this question with a look at Beal's latest actions.
Late last year, CXA Corp., a subsidiary of Beal Bank USA, placed an advertisement in The Wall Street Journal and another publication listing some assets it owned that were "of suspect quality." The ad also appealed to other investors in those assets, suggesting Beal might be gathering up a group of wealthy private investors to join him in going after the big banks -- like Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) -- that sold the securities.
To succeed, Alix notes, "Beal needs to recruit investors with 25% of the voting rights for the bonds in a specific issue, who can then declare a default and sue the servicer of the loans. So far, only seven out of the 93 MBSes in question have gathered up enough votes to move forward."
It's a start, Alix writes, and this event could be the first in another round of investor lawsuits sparked by the mortgage-lending crisis.
2. Three Reasons B of A Will Beat Wells Fargo in 2013
It's hard to argue against the idea that, for a megabank, Wells Fargo is a well-managed one that makes a lot of money. John Maxfield doesn't disagree. However, he outlines three reasons Bank of America might actually be in a more enviable position for profit right now. He considers:
- The banks' valuations. At current levels, B of A's shares have room to go higher; Wells Fargo's do not.
- "Legacy" issues. Otherwise known as "toxic mortgages inherited from Countrywide," these issues, when cleared up, will in turn free up a significant portion of B of A's earnings "to be just that: earnings."
- Capital and dividends. The amount of capital B of A has that it is prepared to pay out as dividends, as soon as the Fed allows it to.
Click through to the article to read more of Maxfield's assessment: B of A may currently present more opportunities for share-price appreciation than Wells Fargo, but those opportunities come at the cost of risk, due in part to Bank of America's ongoing legal problems.
3. Can Berkshire Hold Its 52-Week High?
Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) recently reached its 52-week high. Matt Koppenheffer takes a quick look at the numbers to see how likely it is the stock will keep climbing. One number Matt sees as particularly important is Berkshire's valuation; Warren Buffett himself has made moves suggesting that he views a price-to-book multiple of 1.2 -- which is just below the current valuation -- as an absolute "can't-miss" price.
Abbie Redmon has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Berkshire Hathaway and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway, and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.