Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) is scheduled to release its third-quarter financial results before the markets open on Friday. JPMorgan and Citigroup have already reported, but there was no earth-shattering news from either earnings report. Although, after being put through the political gauntlet, Wells Fargo could be the most interesting report out of the major banks.
The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters call for $1.03 in earnings per share (EPS) and $22.39 billion in revenue. In the same period of last year, the bank posted EPS of had $1.03 and $22.33 billion in revenue.
Wells Fargo has been plagued by controversy this year and recently it only seems to have gotten worse. At the end of August, the megabank announced the completion of its third-party review of retail banking accounts dating back to 2009. What reviewers found was more than what they bargained for.
As for the original account analysis, 93.5 million current and former customer accounts were opened in roughly a four-and-a-half-year period — from May 2011 through mid-2015 — and approximately 2.1 million potentially unauthorized accounts were identified. The expanded analysis reviewed more than 165 million retail banking accounts opened over a nearly eight-year period — from January 2009 through September 2016 — and it identified a new total of approximately 3.5 million potentially unauthorized consumer and small business accounts.
In connection with these 3.5 million potentially unauthorized accounts, about 190,000 accounts incurred fees and charges, up from the 130,000 previously identified accounts that incurred fees and charges.
CEO Tim Sloan even had to appear recently before the Senate Banking Committee to shed more light on this controversy.
While the long-term implications of this may be unknown, looking at the stock near term it’s fairly obvious. The stock has vastly underperformed the U.S. broad markets and the financial sector, up only 1% year to date.
A few analysts weighed in on Wells Fargo ahead of earnings:
- Goldman Sachs has a Buy rating.
- Credit Suisse has a Hold rating with a $57 price target.
- Citigroup has a Buy rating with a $65 price target.
- Robert Baird has a Buy rating and a $58 price target.
- Vertical Group has a Sell rating.
- Nomura has a Buy rating with a $65 price target.
- Piper Jaffray has a Neutral rating with a $50 price target.
- Keefe, Bruyette & Woods has a Buy rating and a $61 target.
Wells Fargo was last seen trading at $55.49 a share. The consensus analyst price target is $57.95, and the 52-week range is $44.28 to $59.99.