Wells Fargo buying more bonds as rates rise

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 | Finance News

(Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co is looking to buy bonds at a faster rate than before to benefit from higher potential returns from investments as U.S. interest rates rise, a top executive said on Wednesday.

"The current back-up in rate, we think, is attractive and will allow us to invest at a slightly faster rate than how we were investing maybe 30 days ago and 60 days ago," Wells Fargo chief financial officer Tim Sloan said at Deutsche Bank's Global Financial Services Investor Conference on Wednesday.

Depositors have been giving Wells Fargo money faster than the bank can lend it out, so the bank has excess funds that it can invest.

The bank has about $160 billion in cash and cash-like instruments that was earning essentially nothing because the bank could not find investments offering the right returns given the risk, Wells Fargo chief executive officer John Stumpf said at a separate investor conference last week. That "dry powder" is over 10 percent of the bank's assets.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yielded 2.15 percent on Wednesday, up over 0.5 percentage points from its level on May 2.

(Reporting by Peter Rudegeair; editing by Andrew Hay)

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