Wells Fargo (WFC) Lifted to “Buy” at UBS

UBS upgraded shares of Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning, www.analystratings.com reports. They currently have $55.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.

A number of other research firms have also recently commented on WFC. Sandler O’Neill raised shares of Wells Fargo from a hold rating to a buy rating and lifted their price target for the stock from $62.04 to $73.00 in a report on Tuesday, January 9th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Wells Fargo from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $65.00 price target on the stock in a report on Saturday, February 10th. Royal Bank of Canada cut shares of Wells Fargo from an outperform rating to an underperform rating in a report on Monday, February 5th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $60.00 price target on shares of Wells Fargo in a report on Monday, February 5th. Finally, Buckingham Research raised shares of Wells Fargo from a neutral rating to a buy rating and lifted their price target for the stock from $57.00 to $75.00 in a report on Thursday, December 21st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $62.31.

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Shares of NYSE WFC opened at $52.23 on Thursday. Wells Fargo has a twelve month low of $49.27 and a twelve month high of $66.31. The company has a market capitalization of $259,789.17, a PE ratio of 12.71, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.40 and a beta of 1.13. The company has a current ratio of 0.90, a quick ratio of 0.88 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.23.

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, January 12th. The financial services provider reported $0.97 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.04 by ($0.07). The company had revenue of $22.05 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $22.64 billion. Wells Fargo had a return on equity of 12.24% and a net margin of 22.57%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.96 EPS. analysts forecast that Wells Fargo will post 4.7 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Wells Fargo declared that its board has authorized a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, January 23rd that permits the company to repurchase 350,000,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the financial services provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, Director Ronald Sargent purchased 9,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 12th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $55.98 per share, with a total value of $503,820.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now owns 81 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,534.38. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Corporate insiders own 0.09% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WFC. Beach Investment Management LLC. bought a new position in shares of Wells Fargo in the second quarter worth $1,010,000. Weatherstone Capital Management bought a new position in shares of Wells Fargo in the second quarter worth $230,000. Manitou Investment Management Ltd. increased its holdings in shares of Wells Fargo by 39.2% in the second quarter. Manitou Investment Management Ltd. now owns 460,943 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $25,541,000 after purchasing an additional 129,778 shares during the period. Vantage Financial Partners Ltd. Inc. bought a new position in shares of Wells Fargo in the second quarter worth $1,095,000. Finally, New England Private Wealth Advisors LLC increased its holdings in shares of Wells Fargo by 1.9% in the second quarter. New England Private Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 6,538 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $361,000 after purchasing an additional 119 shares during the period. 77.33% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Wells Fargo

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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