Mon, Dec 08, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

BANKING

Wells Fargo ranked top bank

Wells Fargo & Co finished trading on Friday as the most valuable US bank ever, surpassing Citigroup Inc’s 2001 record. Wells Fargo closed with a market capitalization of US$285.5 billion, based on 5.19 billion shares outstanding on Oct. 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That beats the previous record set by Citigroup on Feb. 5, 2001, when its value reached US$283.4 billion, the data showed. Wells Fargo, which counts Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc as its largest shareholder, doubled its size in 2008 by outmaneuvering New York-based Citigroup to purchase Wachovia Corp. Chief executive officer John Stumpf made one out of every four US mortgages last year and now oversees the most US bank branches. Wells Fargo stock rose 1 percent to US$55.03 per share in New York, and the 21 percent gain this year tops the 7.7 percent advance for the KBW Bank Index of 24 US lenders.

INVESTMENT

Buffet rises on rich list

Warren Buffett became the world’s second-richest person on Friday after shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc reached a record high. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company has soared 27 percent this year as the dozens of operating businesses the 84-year-old chairman bought over the past five decades churned out record profit. Berkshire’s Class A shares traded above US$200,000 for the first time in August after a rally that followed the release of the company’s annual report, in which Buffett wrote that the company’s actual worth has been rising faster than suggested by metrics such as book value. Since that milestone, the shares have climbed another 13 percent, elevating Buffett’s fortune to US$73.7 billion, US$300 million more than Mexico’s Carlos Slim.

FINANCE

IMF to assess Ukraine aid

The IMF on Saturday said it would dispatch a team to Ukraine to determine just how much extra aid the war-wrecked and energy-starved nation needs to make it through winter. The fund has helped piece together a US$27 billion global rescue package — promising to contribute US$17 billion of that sum over two years — in the weeks that followed the February ouster in Kiev of a Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovich. However, it has since said that the new pro-Western government might need at least US$19 billion in additional assistance should its war against pro-Russian insurgents in the eastern industrial heartland drag on through the end of next year.

AVIATION

American Airlines to update

American Airlines Group Inc plans to spend US$2 billion on new aircraft seats, in-flight entertainment and onboard power outlets as it chases its rivals, led by Delta Air Lines Inc, in updating amenities for passengers. The plan announced on Saturday marks a shift by the carrier to add a focus on changes that passengers would notice most. It is also completing the basic work of meshing flight and airport operations with merger partner US Airways that has been under way during the first year of their combination. The airline has produced record profits since the merger, paid its first dividend since 1980 and announced a US$1 billion share buyback plan. Those moves have assuaged bankruptcy creditors who ended up with stakes in the new American Airlines when it left court protection through the merger. The company’s improved financial condition is set to help pay for the aircraft changes. The airline’s shares have more than doubled in the past 12 months.

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