Investing News

Buffett’s Big Bet on Citigroup

Shares of Citigroup (C) jumped 7% after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reported a nearly $3 billion stake in the bank. Berkshire revealed the investment along with others in its quarterly 13F filing.

Citigroup’s shares were down 16% this year, trailing other big banks. The bank is in the middle of a turnaround led by new CEO Jane Fraser, who took over in March of last year following years of missed financial targets and regulatory controls. Citigroup announced plans to close its consumer banking operations in 13 markets including Australia, China, and Russia. Then in March, the bank unveiled a multi-year turnaround strategy that included financial targets and a 6% increase in expenses as the bank seeks to improve its internal controls.

Berkshire unloaded the rest of its stake in Wells Fargo, and sold its stakes in JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs in 2020. It still owns about $41 billion of Bank of America (BAC) shares, which is Berkshire’s second-largest holding after Apple (AAPL).

Citigroup shares are down about 40% over the past year, while the broader financial sector is down about 12%.

“Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway have had a very busy year so far. In addition to Berkshire’s purchase of Allegheny Insurance, the conglomerate has made big shifts in its equity portfolio, including this latest purchase of Citi shares. The concentration of Berkshire’s portfolio of more consumer-facing banks like Citi and Bank of America is pretty telling of Warren Buffett’s take on the near-term future of investment banking and trading,” stated Caleb Silver, Editor-in-Chief of Investopedia.

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