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Wells Fargo follows U.S. Bank, cuts dividend to 5 cents

A couple of days after a similar announcement by U.S.

A couple of days after a similar announcement by U.S. Bancorp, Wells Fargo announced today that it also is slashing its quarterly dividend payment to investors to a nickel per share.

The San Francisco-based bank, one of Minnesota’s largest private employers, said the dividend cut will strengthen the company’s balance sheet to the tune of $5 billion per year.

Meanwhile, Wells Fargo Chairman Richard Kovacevich is upping his investment in the bank. Kovacevich bought 100,000 shares of his employer’s stock on Thursday, the Star Tribune reports.

As explained Sunday by Star Tribune columnist Neal St. Anthony, when officers and directors buy their own company’s stock, it generally means they believe the value will rise in the next several months to a year.

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The people who track such insider trading lately have noticed an increase in buying, including activity at U.S. Bancorp, Hormel Foods and Zareba Systems. Is it a sign these leaders believe the worst is over, and they’re willing to put their money on it?