Wells Fargo Stumbles Despite Solid Results

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Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) reported its fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Friday. The company said that it had $1.16 in earnings per share (EPS) and $22.1 billion in revenue, compared with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for $1.06 in EPS and revenue of $22.34 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $0.96 and $21.58 billion in revenue.

During the quarter, total average loans were $951.8 billion, down $521 million from the third quarter. Period-end loan balances were $956.8 billion, up $4.9 billion from the third quarter. Total average deposits for the quarter were $1.3 trillion, up $5.2 billion sequentially.

The Common Equity Tier 1 ratio (fully phased-in) was 11.9%, compared with 11.8% in the prior quarter. Book value per common share totaled $37.44, while tangible book value per share was $31.43, up from $36.92 and $30.99, respectively, in the third quarter.

Overall, the bank saw a $3.35 billion after-tax benefit from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. This consisted of a $3.89 billion estimated tax benefit from the reduction to net deferred income taxes, as well as a $370 million after-tax loss from adjustments and a $173 million tax expense from estimated deemed repatriation.

In terms of its business segments for the quarter, Wells Fargo reported:

  • Community banking reported a net income of $3.67 billion, up from $2.73 billion last year.
  • Wholesale Banking had $2.15 billion, down from $2.19 billion.
  • Wealth and Investment Management had $659 million, up from $653 million.

CEO Tim Sloan commented:

In 2017 we continued executing on our plan to build a better bank for the future, and I’m proud of the hard work and dedication of our team members to put our customers first as we transform Wells Fargo. Over the past year we have invested billions of dollars into our business and capabilities including risk management, accelerated the pace of innovation, increased our commitment to communities, enhanced team member benefits, and continued to execute on our business strategies to provide long-term value to our shareholders. The progress we made over the past year was evident in the fourth quarter in higher deposits, loan growth particularly in commercial loans, increased debit and credit card transactions, and record client assets under management in Wealth and Investment Management. While we faced challenges in 2017, we are a much better company today than we were a year ago, and I am confident that this year Wells Fargo will be even better.

Shares of Wells Fargo closed Thursday at $63.01, with a consensus analyst price target of $64.78 and a 52-week range of $49.27 to $63.67. Following the announcement, the stock was down about 1% at $62.17 in early trading indications Friday.