Bank Loss Datapoint of the Day

Wells Fargo released both its and Wachovia’s fourth-quarter earnings this morning:

The fourth-quarter net loss of $2.55 billion, or 79 cents a share, compares with profit of $1.36 billion, or 41 cents, a year earlier, the San Francisco-based company said today in a statement. Wachovia recorded a loss of $11.2 billion…

Wells Fargo said today that it is comfortable with previous assumptions of losses expected from Wachovia. The company took a $37.2 billion credit writedown on Dec. 31, related to $93.9 billion of “high-risk” loans.

OK, that’s $13.75 billion of losses in one quarter, and a $37.2 billion writedown: you just know what the general reaction to that is going to be.

The stock rose 17 percent in early trading…

Wells Fargo averted the worst of the 2008 financial meltdown.

Yep, Wells is the big winner in the banking world, continuing to pay out a non-peppercorn dividend, and trading on a price-to-book ratio of substantially more than 1. Even JP Morgan Chase can’t come close to saying that. Which just goes to put the travails of Citigroup and Bank of America into perspective: they’d love to have Wells Fargo’s problems. And I’m sure that Vikram Pandit is still annoyed that he didn’t get to buy Wachovia’s $11 billion of Q4 losses and $37 billion of writedowns.

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One Response to Bank Loss Datapoint of the Day

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