Bank of America Has Room to Grow; Wells Fargo Loses Customer With a Pulpit: Finance Winners and Losers

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Bank of America (BAC) shares carry an outperform rating from Credit Suisse but it still has some work to do. An analyst at Wells Fargo (WFC) sees financial stocks achieving a short rally after interest-rate hikes, and one client of the San Francisco-based bank went to USA Today to announce that he's taking his business elsewhere.

In global finance news, the IMF ended its talks with Greece, saying bailout negotiations with the debt-ridden country were going nowhere.

"There are major differences between us in most key areas," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in Washington. "There has been no progress in narrowing these differences recently and thus, we are well away from an agreement."

If there's anyone who knows how stressful IMF talks can be, it is Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The former chief of the agency faces charges of "aggravated pimping" in Lille, France.  His excuse? "He needed 'recreational sessions' while he was busy 'saving the world' from one of its worst financial crises," according to an AP report.

This isn't the first time Strauss-Kahn has faced sex-related charges.  In 2011, New York prosecutors dismissed charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid.


Financial stocks may get a brief uptick when the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, according to Gina Martin Adams, an analyst with Wells Fargo. Financial companies tend to perform well before central banks tighten monetary policy, she said.

Supporting her thesis, Bloomberg charted an 18% gain in the S&P 500's Banks Index since Jan. 15, compared with a 6% gain in the broader S&P 500.


There is one bank that may have a bit more room to grow, according to Credit Suisse. The Swiss company rates Bank of America as outperform,  the equivalent of a buy recommendation, but addressed the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank's under-performance so far this year. 

"We went back to square one to evaluate the merits of our outperform recommendation," S. Roth Katzke, a Credit Suisse analyst, said in a note. "Bottom line: We do believe this franchise can 1) grow revenues, 2) become materially more efficient, and 3) return more to shareholders."

Shares of Bank of America closed down 8 cents at $17.50.


Wells Fargo just lost a very vocal client to North Carolina-based BB&T (BBT). Franklin Graham, son of noted evangelist Billy Graham and a celebrity evangelist in his own right, penned a column in USA Today about why he's boycotting Wells Fargo.

Graham takes issue with San Francisco-based Wells Fargo's public advocacy for gay rights: The bank recently ran a national ad that featured a lesbian couple. Graham acknowledges BB&T is "gay-friendly," having recently sponsored a Miami Beach Gay Pride fundraiser, but he's less uncomfortable with that because it wasn't a national campaign.

"It may surprise some to learn that I think every business should be gay-friendly," he said. "By that, I mean businesses -- like individuals -- should be friendly to gay customers and citizens. We should be friendly to everyone, even if or when we disagree with them."

Franklin said his views are informed by the Bible, which isn't "subject to amendment or revision." 

The stock prices of the banks in question, meanwhile, are subject to change: Shares of Wells Fargo closed up 6 cents at $57.27 while shares of BB&T dropped 27 cents to $40.90.

More from Investing

Darden Restaurants Soars Following Blowout Earnings - Here's What to Know

Darden Restaurants Soars Following Blowout Earnings - Here's What to Know

Spotify: A Speculative Play for Sure

Spotify: A Speculative Play for Sure

Kroger Spikes as Sales Jump and Earnings Top Forecasts

Kroger Spikes as Sales Jump and Earnings Top Forecasts

Daimler's Profit Warning Should Terrify Traders Before Earnings Season Begins

Daimler's Profit Warning Should Terrify Traders Before Earnings Season Begins

Micron's Guidance and Commentary Calm Recent DRAM Fears

Micron's Guidance and Commentary Calm Recent DRAM Fears