4 Financial Stock Stories to Close Out the Trading Week

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRKB): Current price $117.47

On Thursday, Warren Buffett made two points. He would recommend the reappointment of Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and said that low interest rates have inflated asset values and his hunt for additional investments at Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has become more complicated. Buffett spoke the day after the Fed surprised investors by delaying its expected taper of monetary stimulus, which has during the past five years more than tripled the Fed’s balance sheet to over $3.6 trillion.

On CNBC in a joint interview with Chief Executive Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, Buffett observed of Bernanke that, “Since the panic of five years ago, he’s done a terrific job.” When asked if he would reappoint Bernanke once his term expires, Buffett said, “That’s what I would do.”

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The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (NYSE:RBS): Current price $11.55

RBS announced Friday that it has raised 630 million euros, or $1 billion, through the divestiture of a 20-percent interest in Direct Line, marking the most recent step in an EU-ordered disposal of the United Kingdom’s largest motor insurer. RBS has been instructed by European regulators to sell off all of Direct Line, which is also one of Britain’s biggest home and general insurers, prior to the end of next year as a penalty for its 2008 taxpayer bailout which rendered it 81-percent owned by the government. RBS Finance Director Bruce Van Saun remarked that, “This successful sale keeps RBS fully on track to meet its obligation to divest its stake in Direct Line by end-2014.”

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Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX): Current price $61.71

Goldman Sachs has assumed coverage on Equifax shares with a Buy and a price target of $70. Analyst Andre Benjamin commented that, “EFX plots favorably on our screen of value vs. growth, with an above average 12-percent 2013E- 2015E EBITDA CAGR. We forecast EFX can grow its dividend by 18 percent and reduce its share count by 1 percent per year 2013E-2015E while reducing net debt /EBITDA by one turn to 0.9X by the fourth quarter 2015.”

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American Capital Agency Corp. (NASDAQ:AGNC): Current price $23.21

American Capital Agency said Friday that its board has declared a cash dividend of 80 cents per share for the third quarter, payable on October 28 to common shareholders of record as of September 30 with an ex-dividend date of September 26. The firm also announced that in the third quarter it made open market purchases of around 11.9 million shares of its common stock, or 3 percent of its outstanding shares as of June 30, 2013.

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