NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) - Get Report were falling in early afternoon trading on Friday as Morgan Stanley maintained that the stock is its top pick in the banking sector despite the company's recent fraudulent account openings scandal, according to Barron's.
Last month, Wells Fargo was fined $185 million to settle claims that bank employees illegally opened millions of unauthorized accounts to reach sales quotas.
Morgan Stanley said that shares of the San Francisco-based company are attractive at current levels.
"At this valuation, Wells Fargo offers the best value based on dividend, not only among large cap banks, but also among companies with a similar dividend yield in the S&P 500," the firm said, Barron's notes.
Morgan Stanley added that there could be volatility in the shares "as headline risk persists and other regulatory investigations progress."
However, the firm does not believe these factors would put Wells Fargo's dividend at risk.
"Wells has also shown it is committed to change, with the new CEO Tim Sloan and new Retail Head Mary Mack, as well as changes to its sales incentives by removing product goals entirely," Morgan Stanley noted.
The firm has an "overweight" rating and $53 price target on the shares.
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Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.
TheStreet Ratings rated this stock as a "buy" with a ratings score of B.
The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: WFC