NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said "we've transitioned to a seller's market in much of the country," and that "buyer traffic is 40% above a year ago."
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said manufacturers responding to its local Business Outlook Survey for February "reported declines in activity this month," and that "indicators for general activity and new orders have now registered negative readings for the past two months." The survey's diffusion index of current activity came in at minus 12.5 for February, declining from minus 5.8 in January. Economists had expected 4 for February.
Shares of Wells Fargo have returned 4% this year, following a 27% gain in 2012. The shares trade for 1.6 times tangible book value, according to Thomson Reuters Bank Insight, and for 9.1 times the consensus 2014 earnings estimate of $3.89. The consensus 2013 EPS estimate is $3.65.
Based on a quarterly payout of $0.25, the shares have a dividend yield of 2.82%.
Wells Fargo's valuation to the consensus forward earnings estimate is only slightly above the rest of the "big four" U.S. banks, despite being the strongest and steadiest earner among the group for many years. The company's operating return on average assets (ROA) was 1.41%, rising steadily over the past five years, from a low of 0.44% in 2008. Here's a quick comparison to the rest of the big four:
- Shares of Bank of America (C - Get Report) were down over 3% on Thursday to close at $11.41. The stock trades for 8.9 times the consensus 2014 EPS estimate of $1.29. The company's ROA over the past five years has ranged from a negative 0.09% to a positive return of 0.26%. Bank of America is arguably the most risky play among the big four, with a political target on its back and legacy mortgage risk from the acquisition of Countrywide Financial in 2008.
- Citigroup (C - Get Report) was down 2% to close at $42.35. The company's shares trade for 8.1 times the consensus 2014 EPS estimate of $5.20. Citi's ROA has ranged from a negative 1.28% to positive 0.57% over the past five years. Citigroup is in the midst of a multiyear transformation, as the company frees up excess capital by winding down non-core assets in the Citi Holdings subsidiary. The company on Tuesday agreed to acquire a $7 billion private label billion credit card portfolio from Capital One (COF). Acquisitions are among several possible strategies to help Citi recapture its $55 billion deferred tax asset.
- Shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) declined 1% to close at $48.25, trading for 8.4 times the consensus 2014 EPS estimate of $5.77. The company's ROA improved over the past five years from 0.21% to 0.94%. The improved results in 2012 came despite widely publicized hedge trading losses that totaled $6.2 billion.
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