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Bank of America

Daily Journal held 2.3 million shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) at the end of 2022, worth approximately $76.2 million at the time. Occupying 44% of the portfolio, that makes the bank the largest publicly traded holding at Munger’s firm.

With economic turmoil forecast for this year, it’s a savvy holding for Munger.

While many sectors fear rising interest rates, banks look forward to them. That’s because banks lend money at higher rates than they borrow, then pocket the difference.

When interest rates increase, the spread of a bank’s earnings widens.

And it just so happens that Bank of America has steadily been upping its payout to shareholders.

Last summer, Bank of America boosted its quarterly dividend by 5% to 22 cents per share — and that’s after the company’s 17% dividend increase in July 2021.

At the current share price, the bank offers an annual yield of 3.1%.

Buffett likes the company, too, as Bank of America happens to be the largest holding at Berkshire Hathaway.

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Wells Fargo

With approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) is another heavyweight player in America’s financial services industry. It serves one in three households in the U.S. and more than 10% of small businesses in the country.

Daily Journal owned 1.59 million shares of Wells Fargo at the end of 2022, making the bank its second-largest public holding with a 38% weight.

According to the company’s latest earnings report, Wells Fargo generated $20.8 billion of revenue in Q3 of 2023.

Management is monitoring how higher interest rates can affect its customers.

“Our customers have remained resilient with deposit balances, consumer spending, and credit quality still stronger than pre-pandemic levels,” Wells Fargo’s CEO Charlie Scharf said in a statement.

“As we look forward, we are carefully watching the impact of higher rates on our customers and expect to see deposit balances and credit quality continue to return toward pre-pandemic levels..”

Wells Fargo has a quarterly dividend rate of 30 cents per share, translating into an annual yield of 3.2%.

Alibaba Group

Chinese tech stocks haven’t exactly been market darlings these days. E-commerce giant Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA) , for instance, plunged 26% in 2022 and is down more than 40% over the past five years.

But Daily Journal has kept the company as its third-largest holding. It owned 300,000 shares of Alibaba at the end of 2022 — a stake valued at $26.4 million at the time.

And the downturn in Alibaba shares could give contrarian investors something to think about.

In Q3 of 2022, the Chinese tech company grew its revenue by 3% from a year ago to $29.1 billion.

While Alibaba doesn’t pay a dividend, it still returns cash to shareholders through its stock buyback program.

As of Nov. 16, 2022, the company has repurchased approximately $18 billion of its own shares under its existing $25 billion share repurchase program.

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Jing Pan Investment Reporter

Jing is an investment reporter for MoneyWise. He is an avid advocate of investing for passive income. Despite the ups and downs he’s been through with the markets, Jing believes that you can generate a steadily increasing income stream by investing in high quality companies.

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