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Appaloosa’s Tepper Says Buying Bank Stocks ‘Was Easy’

David Tepper, head of hedge-fund firm Appaloosa Management LP, said he bought bank stocks in 2009 because the U.S. government published its plan to prop up the financial sector after the credit crisis.

“It was easy,” Tepper, 53, said in an interview on CNBC television today. “The government told you what they were going to do.”

Appaloosa, based in Short Hills, New Jersey, bought shares in Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc. in 2009 after the U.S. pumped money into the ailing banking sector. His firm had a 132 percent return in 2009, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index of 80 companies rose 137 percent from a 27-year low on March 6, 2009.

Tepper said financial stocks are about 10 percent of the holdings of his firm, which oversees $12.4 billion. He earned an estimated $4 billion in 2009, making him the highest-paid hedge-fund manager, according to a report published in April by AR magazine.

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