Why Wells Fargo Earnings Are Actually a Solid Win

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Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) released its second-quarter earnings report before the markets opened on Friday. These results benefited from Wells Fargo’s diversified business model, proving that the bank of Warren Buffett is solid even in times of economic uncertainty. Strong fundamentals seen in the report are also giving more credence to the rally that we are currently seeing in the Dow and S&P 500.

Higher linked-quarter net interest income, growth in many fee-based businesses and positive operating leverage all played into this earnings win. At the same time, earning assets increased in the second quarter, driven by growth in both loans and investment securities.

Although the initial reaction in the premarket was somewhat negative, overall this report can be seen as a net positive.

The company said that it had $1.01 in earnings per share (EPS) on $22.2 billion in revenue. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters called for $1.01 in EPS on revenue of $22.17 billion. In the same period of last year, the bank posted EPS of $1.03 and $21.32 billion in revenue.

In the second quarter, noninterest income was $10.4 billion, down from $10.5 billion in the first quarter. Second-quarter noninterest income reflected higher net gains on debt securities, trust and investment fees, net gains from trading activities, lease income, card fees and service charges on deposit accounts.

Total loans were $957.2 billion at the end of June, up $9.9 billion, or 1%, from the first quarter, driven by growth in commercial loans, including commercial and industrial and real estate mortgage loans, as well as growth in consumer loans, including real estate one to four family first mortgage loans, credit card and automobile.

Total average deposits for second quarter 2016 were $1.2 trillion, up 1% from the prior quarter, driven by a $13.4 billion increase in consumer and small business.

Common Equity Tier 1 (fully phased-in) was 10.6% for this quarter, which remained flat compared to the prior quarter.

John Stumpf, chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo, commented on earnings:

Wells Fargo’s second quarter results demonstrated our ability to generate consistent performance during periods of economic, capital markets and interest rate uncertainty. Compared with a year ago, we had solid growth in loans, deposits and customers, which are our fundamental drivers of long-term value. We also improved our efficiency ratio while continuing to reinvest in the franchise. We returned more capital to our shareholders in the quarter and were pleased to have received a non-objection to our 2016 Capital Plan from the Federal Reserve. We remain well positioned to continue to meet the financial needs of our customers.

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Shares of Wells Fargo closed Thursday at $48.94, with a consensus analyst price target of $53.45 and a 52-week trading range of $44.50 to $58.77. Following the release of the earnings report, the stock was down 1.1% at $48.40 in early trading indications Friday.