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Bank Stock Roundup: Litigation Continues, JPMorgan, BofA & U.S. Bancorp in Focus Ahead of Q2 Earnings

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The time has come for the banks to gear up for the release of their second-quarter results against the tough industry backdrop. Wells Fargo & Company (WFC - Free Report) kicked off second-quarter bank earnings season last Friday.

However, efforts by the banks to remove litigation overhang remained the key trend last week. Some streamlining activities made headlines too. All these generated optimism about bank financials getting some support going forward. (Read last to last week’s developments: Major Regional Banks Stock Roundup: SunTrust and U.S. Bancorp in Focus for Settlements)
Recap of the Week’s Major Happenings:

1. Driven by prudent expense management, Wells Fargo earned $1.01 per share, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate and up 3.6% year over year. Total loans and deposits grew and non-interest expenses declined. However, fall in non-interest income acted as a dampener. (Read More: Wells Fargo Posts Solid Earnings, Expenses Down Y/Y).  

2. Citigroup Inc. (C - Free Report) is in talks with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to pay more than $7 billion for the resolution of several litigations and probes related to its pre-crisis mortgage practices. The charges were imposed for allegedly providing mortgages to ineligible customers and sale of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to investors without disclosing the associated risks. (Read More: Citigroup to Pay $7B to Settle Mortgage Issues?)

3. Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of America Corporation (BAC - Free Report) were able to escape the clutches of litigation filed by the city of Miami, as a federal judge dismissed the mortgage-discrimination allegations against them. However, Wells Fargo will have to face the lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles city accusing it of similar charges, as the U.S. District Judge dismissed the bank’s plea. (Read More: Wells Fargo, Citi, BofA Dodge Miami Discrimination Lawsuit and Wells Fargo to Face Los Angeles Discrimination Lawsuit).

4. In order to regain the confidence of its shareholders, BofA has sought re-approval of 5 cents per share of quarterly dividend. The news was reported by the Wall Street Journal. BofA had resubmitted a tapered 2014 capital plan in May, but had not divulged any details at that time. (Read More: BofA Seeks 5 Cent Dividend Payout).

5. At a time when the banking industry is struggling with slow top-line growth, banks are attempting to cut expenses in order to remain profitable. Wall Street biggies including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM - Free Report) are among the front runners. The company is seeking avenues to slash wasteful expenditure, per a Wall Street Journal report. (Read More: JPMorgan Aims at Prudent Cost Management).

Price Performance

With efforts to minimize legal hassles, banking stocks showed an uptrend recently. Moreover, with the bank earnings taking center stage this week, the stocks ended the last week on a positive note.


Last Week

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Last week, BofA and Citigroup were the major gainers, with their share prices increasing 3.6% and 2.1%, respectively. On the other hand, Capital One Financial Corp. (COF - Free Report) witnessed a marginal decline.

Over the last six months, Wells Fargo and The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (PNC - Free Report) were the top performers, with their shares advancing 14.5% and 13.2%, respectively. However, Citigroup witnessed a 12.8% price decline over the same time frame.

What Next in the Banking Universe?

Earnings will remain in focus for the whole of this week. JPMorgan and Comerica Inc. (CMA - Free Report) are scheduled to report results on Jul 15, while BofA, PNC Financial and U.S. Bancorp will report on Jul 16. Further, Capital One, KeyCorp and Fifth Third Bancorp will be announcing the results on Jul 17 and The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation is scheduled to report on Jul 18.

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