May 23, 2008

Bill Nygren still bullish on Washington Mutual

Q: A primary reason the fund is down so much is because Washington Mutual is your largest holding. Why do you still believe in the company?

Nygren: The concern the market has is about its mortgage holdings. But the real attraction of Washington Mutual has very little to do with mortgages. We like its growing strength as a retail bank. When you look at the size of losses it could incur from mortgages, it's not enough to offset all of the value being added on the deposit side of the balance sheet. If you value Washington Mutual with the same kind of premium other banks get for deposits, you get a number that's substantially higher than the current stock price of $37. It's probably worth $50 or $60 per share.

~ Bill Nygren, portfolio manager, $6 billion Oakmark Select Fund, "Straight Talk About Bad Results," BusinessWeek, September 17, 2007

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