After three quarters of astounding, Street-beating bottom lines, Wells' shares are still saddled with credit concerns. Even last quarter, while TARP-laden peers like Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C) reported losses, driven down by consumers and businesses finking on debts, Wells reported a $3.2 billion profit -- in the league of so-called "healthier" competitors like JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS).
"We want to ask a rhetorical question here -- why is it that when companies like Goldman Sachs have huge trading quarters, the Street cheers that occurrence and bids up the stock--but when Wells Fargo has several (in a row) large mortgage banking quarters, the Street's reaction is "Not sustainable" and the stock gets taken down?" analyst Nancy Bush wrote in a note reiterating her buy rating on Tuesday.
But scrutinizing the numbers more closely gave room for the bears to settle in.Wells' nonperforming loan ratio has rocketed to 2.61% from just 1.25% just six months ago. The firm has reassured investors that a credit-loss peak is at hand; that Wachovia's bad debt was written down far enough at the time of its acquisition to no longer be a concern; that "not all NPAs result in a loss"; that its loan workout program has yielded positive results; and that Wachovia's most toxic book of loans -- the "Pick-A-Pay" portfolio -- is doing better than initially expected. On Tuesday it became clear why. The bank has been allowing homeowners to make "interest only" mortgage payments to stay current, and stay in their residences. They are still tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars "underwater" -- meaning their homes are worth much less than what they owe -- but Wells believes this isn't anything to worry about.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV