Should you stay invested in Wells Fargo?

Shares are up nearly 30% this year, fueled by impressive organic growth, cost-cutting initiatives and strong capital deployment.

By Zacks.com Dec 3, 2013 4:32PM

File photo of Wells Fargo & Co. signage at a bank branch in New York (© Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By Zacks Equity Research

 

Shares of Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) have recorded a year-to-date return of 29.8%.


Impressive organic growth, expense reduction initiatives and strong capital deployment activities of the company acted as the positives behind this growth story. However, we are not very optimistic about these positives translating to further price appreciation down the road as there will be significant pressure on its top line.


After analyzing its fundamentals following third-quarter 2013 earnings release, we would suggest to stay invested in it but not to further add it to your portfolio.  


Why this stance?

Wells Fargo achieved the 15th consecutive quarter of growth in earnings per share by reporting earnings of 99 cents per share in the third quarter. Results improved from earnings per share of 98 cents in the prior quarter and 88 cents in the year-ago quarter. Also, it beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2 cents.


Results at Wells Fargo reflected growth in total loans and deposits amid a challenging economy and prudent expense management. Moreover, a strong capital position and returns on assets and equity acted as the positives. It also reported $900 million in reserve release (pre-tax), attributable to an improved credit performance.


However, we believe that the top-line headwinds would persist, given the protracted economic recovery. A low interest-rate environment would keep its margin under pressure. Notably, the net interest margin dipped 38 basis points year over year to 3.44% in the first nine months of 2013. Though growth in balance sheet is likely to benefit its net interest income, the pressure on net interest margins would hamper such positives.


Though the U.S. economy posted stable to improving economic data during the course of the first nine months of 2013, including favorable developments in unemployment and housing, concerns about the outlook on the global economy and continued political uncertainty persist.


Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased about 1% to $3.87 per share as 12 of the 20 estimates were revised higher. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate rose slightly to $4.03 per share, as 7 of the 20 estimates moved north. Currently, Wells Fargo carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).


Other Banks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks in the banking sector include First Interstate Bancsystem Inc. (FIBK), German American Bancorp (GABC) and PrivateBancorp (PVTB). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).


WELLS FARGO-NEW (WFC): Free Stock Analysis Report (email required)
FIRST INTST MT (FIBK): Free Stock Analysis Report (email required)
PRIVATEBANCORP (PVTB): Free Stock Analysis Report (email required)

 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Tags: PVTBWFC
0Comments

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

STOCK SCOUTER

StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

118
118 rated 1
270
270 rated 2
472
472 rated 3
714
714 rated 4
624
624 rated 5
608
608 rated 6
623
623 rated 7
445
445 rated 8
319
319 rated 9
125
125 rated 10
12345678910

Top Picks

SYMBOLNAMERATING
AAPLAPPLE Inc10
ATVIACTIVISION BLIZZARD Inc10
BIDUBAIDU Inc10
BMYBRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO.10
CELGCELGENE CORP10
More

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

ABOUT

Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.