Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report published on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Wells Fargo have underperformed the industry so far this year. Also, the company possesses a disappointing earnings surprise history, having beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in only one of the trailing four quarters. Following the sales scandal and other issues, Wells Fargo has been slapped with new sanctions, including a cap on the assets position by the Federal Reserve. Though the company’s ongoing investment in the businesses — aimed to enhance the compliance and risk management capability, build a better bank and strengthen core infrastructure — bodes well, the sales scandal, auto-lending issues and impact of other malpractices will take some time to alleviate. Recently, in a major setback, the central bank has rejected the company's scandal prevention plans and demanded a stricter check over management. Moreever, rising expenses remain a headwind.”

A number of other equities analysts have also weighed in on the stock. Edward Jones upgraded shares of Wells Fargo & Co from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Monday, September 17th. Macquarie cut their target price on shares of Wells Fargo & Co from $63.00 to $62.00 and set a neutral rating for the company in a research report on Monday, September 17th. UBS Group set a $63.00 target price on shares of Wells Fargo & Co and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, September 28th. Citigroup upgraded shares of Wells Fargo & Co from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, November 2nd. Finally, Wolfe Research initiated coverage on shares of Wells Fargo & Co in a research report on Tuesday, September 25th. They set an outperform rating for the company. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $63.61.

Shares of NYSE:WFC opened at $46.61 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.26, a current ratio of 0.87 and a quick ratio of 0.86. The stock has a market cap of $227.01 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.34, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.93 and a beta of 1.00. Wells Fargo & Co has a twelve month low of $46.12 and a twelve month high of $66.31.

Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) last issued its earnings results on Friday, October 12th. The financial services provider reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.17 by ($0.04). The business had revenue of $21.94 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $21.90 billion. Wells Fargo & Co had a return on equity of 12.69% and a net margin of 23.17%. Analysts predict that Wells Fargo & Co will post 4.5 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Wells Fargo & Co declared that its board has approved a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, October 23rd that permits the company to repurchase 350,000,000 shares. This repurchase authorization permits the financial services provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Saturday, December 1st. Stockholders of record on Friday, November 9th were given a $0.43 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, November 8th. This represents a $1.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.69%. Wells Fargo & Co’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 41.85%.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WFC. Sageworth Trust Co boosted its position in shares of Wells Fargo & Co by 257.9% in the third quarter. Sageworth Trust Co now owns 2,151 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $113,000 after acquiring an additional 1,550 shares during the period. Landaas & Co. WI ADV bought a new position in shares of Wells Fargo & Co in the second quarter valued at approximately $117,000. Lee Financial Co raised its stake in Wells Fargo & Co by 433.4% in the third quarter. Lee Financial Co now owns 2,507 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $132,000 after purchasing an additional 2,037 shares in the last quarter. Almanack Investment Partners LLC. purchased a new stake in Wells Fargo & Co in the third quarter valued at approximately $141,000. Finally, Parkside Investments LLC purchased a new stake in Wells Fargo & Co in the third quarter valued at approximately $174,000. Institutional investors own 72.98% of the company’s stock.

Wells Fargo & Co Company Profile

Wells Fargo & Company, a diversified financial services company, provides retail, commercial, and corporate banking services to individuals, businesses, and institutions. The company's Community Banking segment offers checking and savings accounts; credit and debit cards; and automobile, student, mortgage, home equity, and small business loans.

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