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Bank Stock Roundup: Yield Curve Inversion, Outlook, WFC, C, JPM, BAC Dominate

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Over the last four trading days, performance of bank stocks was bearish as a number of issues, including a few that have direct bearing on the banks’ performance, shook the markets. These resulted in negative investor sentiments, leading to a slide in banking stocks.

Yield curve inversion along with the expectations of slowdown in economic activities and the U.S.-China trade war worries led to bearish market sentiments. For banks, which benefit from steepening of yield curve, inverted yield curve is bad news. This could lead to a decline in net interest margin.

Additionally, the inversion might result in a halt in the Fed’s interest rate hikes. Already the Fed Chair has indicated that rates are near “neutral.” With the inversion of yield curve, the chances of hikes are further likely to diminish.

Apart from these domestic issues, Brexit-related concerns persisted. All these matters significantly hurt investor sentiments and dragged the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE - Free Report) and SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE - Free Report) lower.

Now coming to the company specific developments, Wells Fargo (WFC - Free Report) continued to face issues related to the fake sales scandal. Other than that, banks’ quarterly and long-term guidance as well as business expansion strategy remained in focus.



(Read: Bank Stock Roundup for the Week Ending Nov 16, 2018)

Important Developments of the Week

1. Continuing its steps to rectify the mistakes committed almost two years back, Wells Fargo has dismissed about 36 district managers, on charges of failing to conduct proper oversight, which contributed to the major sales scandal. The news was reported by The Wall Street Journal. (Read more: Wells Fargo Sacks 36 District Managers in Fake Account Case)

In other news related to Wells Fargo, the central bank has rejected the company's scandal prevention plans and demanded a stricter check over management. The news was reported by Reuters.

Wells Fargo had put forth the plan in April 2018, following which, CEO Tim Sloan and other executives had been in discussions with Fed officials over the ideal measures.

Per people with knowledge of the matter, Wells Fargo was supposed to have the plan “approved, implemented and an independent third-party review completed” by the end of September 2018. However, the bank has clearly missed the target date, which could have led to more penalties, but the regulator has instead decided to allot Wells Fargo more time to satisfy the settlement terms.

Delay in plan approval is likely to keep Wells Fargo’s asset growth restricted for a longer period. In order to get the cap lifted earlier, the bank will have to bolster its governance and controls.

2. At the 2018 Goldman Sachs US Financial Services Conference in New York, top executives of Bank of America (BAC - Free Report) , JPMorgan (JPM - Free Report) and Citigroup (C - Free Report) presented divergent trading revenues outlook for the fourth quarter. Banks seem to be skeptical about the quarterly performance amid global market turmoil and uncertainty over ongoing developments, including easing of regulations along with expectations of slowdown in the economy and inflation worries. (Read more: Big Banks' Trading Outlook Indicates Mixed Q4 Performance)

3. Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB - Free Report) is optimistic about its growth prospects and has raised long-term financial targets, which were announced at an investor conference. The key reason behind the positive expectations is the bank’s planned acquisition of Chicago-based MB Financial. (Read more: Fifth Third's MB Financial Buyout Leads to Higher Targets)

4. Moody's Investors Service has placed the long-term and short-term ratings of BofA under review for possible upgrade. The rating agency had upgraded the company’s ratings last December. Since then, the bank has made significant progress in sustaining and further improving profitability. (Read more: BofA's Ratings Under Review for Upgrade by Moody's)

5. JPMorgan is planning to expand its presence in Europe by offering commercial banking services to mid-sized firms, per Reuters. Nonetheless, Doug Petno, the CEO of the company’s commercial banking unit has not yet announced his plans. (Read more: JPMorgan Seeks to Expand Commercial Banking in Europe)

Price Performance

Here’s how the seven major stocks performed:
 

Company

Last Week

6 months

JPM

-5.4%

-3.5%

BAC

-6.9%

-11.6%

WFC

-5.9%

-6.7%

C

-7.3%

-10.8%

COF

-5.7%

-11.5%

USB

-3.9%

2.4%

PNC

-4.8%

-3.5%


Over the last four trading sessions, Citigroup and BofA were the major losers with their shares declining 7.3% and 6.9%, respectively. Also, shares of Wells Fargo fell 5.9%.

In the past six months, share price of BofA and Capital One has decreased 11.6% and 11.5%, respectively. On the other hand, U.S. Bancorp stock has rallied 2.4%.

What’s Next?

Over the next five trading days, performance of bank stocks will likely remain the same unless any unexpected event occurs.

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