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What Buffett's Goldman Stake Means For Wall Street

Given what could be an increasing focus on EPS, Goldman Sachs stands out as one of the lenders best positioned for growth.

Among its primary Wall Street competitors Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan, only Goldman Sachs is a net buyer of shares.

During the fourth quarter of 2012, Goldman bought back $1.53 billion in shares, exceeding the $1.2 billion forecasted by Morgan Stanley analyst Betsy Graseck prior to earnings.

For all of 2012, Goldman bought back nearly $5 billion in stock, or a total of 42 million shares.

Goldman was one of the few disappointments in the March stress tests, however, as it resubmits a buyback and dividend increase plan to the Fed later in the year. Such a delay could benefit Buffett and his warrant conversion.

As Warren Buffett circles the shares of Goldman Sachs, investors would be wise to consider the contrast between the investment bank and its competitors when it comes to share buybacks and EPS growth.

Buffett's prospective investment might indicate a new post-crisis path for Wall Street's largest players.

"We are pleased that Berkshire Hathaway intends to remain a long-term investor in Goldman Sachs," Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said in the statement.

Andrew Williams, a Goldman Sachs spokesperson declined to comment. Messages left with Berkshire Hathaway weren't returned.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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