No. of Recommendations: 5

In fact, I was suspicious of the entire cheerleading tone of the report.

Any time I get that feeling I either walk or insist on a wide wide wide margin of safety. It has kept me out of many an ugly, particularly since I tend to be a purchaser of longer holdings. (bonds are varied but I tend to hold stocks for an extended period). I don't expect any CEO or CFO team to step up to the mic and say "wow, we really stunk this place up. I'm telling you this year was like that scene in Blazing Saddles". I expect them to talk up the highlights and mutter the low points. Paragraphs on what was great a buried sentence on what wasn't so great.

Call it shining a t#rd or putting lipstick on a pig, it doesn't work for me.

I like your stress test, I think it was the bottom end of harsh enough not because it isn't plausible but because I want a margin of safety for my investments. If I think 15% is the top end of plausible I want to test them against 20% - 30% and see how they fair. This is a game of mostly right and I want to make sure my idea of mostly right has more than enough room for my errors.

What do you think?

I think being a pessimist is our preferred stance at this point. The experts can't price these assets yet. Partly because the government keeps sticking its nose in the mess and partly because the banks refuse to give a reasonable starting point. In this public/private partnership model how do we price this crap in can. I say stop messing around and truly free market this stuff, if its pennies on the dollar so be it, if its $.30 on the dollar so be it. Reprice the things, make your write downs and if the government needs to prop someone up after that at least we have clarity.

How open and honest do think Wells Fargo is being about the size of its toxic holdings and those just a few steps above? 2.4% annual seems ridiculous. If this is the actual fact, they write that kind of loss off annually, where is the crisis? If they aren't part of the crisis how in the heck did they compete well enough to be big enough to absorb Wachovias mess?

Do I think they can pay their debt for the next 2+ years? I have no idea. I do know for certain 5 and a smidge isn't going to get me to the purchasing counter. AA not a chance, A- minus, BBB+ maybe most likely BBB- or BB. I think they are being priced, both stock and bonds, as best of breed with a stiff premium compared to what is actual. The problem is the entire breed is has been hit with a virus.

He later said the bank was "well capitalized."

Before or after TARP money? Is the TARP money being burned through or deployed to earn a return?

The questioner asked whether Wells accepted the money to help the government ease the stigma that might be associated with accepting public money from the program known as TARP, . . .

"In my heart, I wasn't forced to do anything. There's no owner's manual on how to do this," Stumpf replied. "We're Americans first, bankers second, and we took it under those conditions, to help get the economy going."

Who planted the questioner and is that the cheesiest answer you could think of? (I know that is cynical)

I've never been good at valuing the financial sector. Give me widgets and R&D companies. This tends to keep me out of them on the stock side and occasionally dabbling on the bond side. So take my critique with a grain of salt. I want to make darn sure my butt is well covered when I walk into situations pushing my skill set.

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