Today's Outrage: Well Played, Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo may not deserve to be lumped in with the other banks that have been less aggressive about getting their houses in order.
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An analysis this week by TheStreet.com's Lauren LaCapra showed that

aggressive markdowns

of the value of some assets by

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

have positioned the bank to potentially profit more than rivals from the government's toxic asset plan.

So why is the stock declining amid the recent rally and why are

options pointing to lower prices

for Wells Fargo?

Maybe it reflects doubt about the $1 trillion public-private partnership the government is setting up to buy bad assets from banks.

Perhaps it's no good to stand out from the herd. Or there may be lingering concerns about what other skeletons remain in the closet at

Wachovia

, which accounted for most of the charges for high-risk loans that contributed to Wells Fargo's $11.2 billion fourth-quarter loss.

Most likely, though, investors have simply not realized or appreciated what Wells Fargo is doing to get its house in order and prove the value of buying Wachovia.

Still, the company has many staunch supporters among its shareholders, who have frequently emailed me to complain when I have lumped Wells Fargo among the likes of

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

as I've railed about the billions of dollars in taxpayer money that flowed into their balance sheets without a noticeable return so far in terms of a return to normal flows of credit to consumers and small businesses, aka the bedrock of the U.S. economy.

It will be interesting to see whether the bulls or bears are right about Wells Fargo.

For the record, I'm rooting for Wells. Call it a gut instinct. Call me foolish if you will. But I've come around to the position of the many shareholders who keep telling me that Wells Fargo doesn't deserve to be tarred with the same brush as the other banks.

It looks like Wells Fargo played its hand well.

Hall is the editor of

TheStreet.com

. Previously, he served as deputy editor and chief innovation officer at

The Orange County Register

and as a news manager at

Bloomberg News

in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C. As a reporter, he covered business and financial markets, worked in both print and television in the U.S. and Europe, and conducted in-depth investigative coverage at

The Journal-Gazette

in Fort Wayne, Ind. His work also has been published in a variety of newspapers including

The Wall Street Journal

,

The New York Times

and

International Herald Tribune

. Hall received a bachelor�s degree in journalism and political science from The Ohio State University and has taken graduate management science courses at Boston University.