Insights

Why Wells Fargo’s Stock Price Fell 14.4% in June

What Happened

The month of June was not pleasant for Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), which saw its share price drop 14.4% in the month, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence

The nation’s third-largest bank was outperformed by the S&P 500, which only fell 8.4% in June. It also trailed the performance of the KBW Bank Index, which dropped 12.9% in the month. Wells Fargo’s stock price is down 18.3% year to date as of July 6.

So what

Wells Fargo took a few big hits this past month. The biggest came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for May — and it was not good. The CPI climbed 0.6% in the month and was up 8.6% over the past year, marking the largest 12-month increase in the inflation indicator since 1981. The 8.6% year-over-year increase was higher than the 8.3% rise that analysts had expected.

Wells Fargo’s stock price dropped almost 18% from June 7, in anticipation of the June 10 CPI release, and June 14. Banks were hit harder than most other industries as recession fears grew on the rising inflation numbers. 

Also during this stretch, the New York Times published an article that alleged that the bank conducted “fake interviews” with diverse job candidates when the job had already been promised to someone else. Wells Fargo issued a statement saying its diverse slate hiring practice has led to an increase in overall diversity, citing a workforce that is 45% non-white.

The stock price did bounce back slightly after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.75 basis points at its June 15 board meeting to the 1.5% to 1.75% range. Because Wells Fargo gets a broader share of its revenue from lending than other megabanks, it should benefit more from rate hikes — which is why its stock is not down as much as its competitors YTD.

Now what

Near the end of June, Wells Fargo learned that it passed the Federal Reserve’s stress test, meaning it has enough liquidity and stability to get through an adverse economic environment, like a severe recession. It expects to have a 3.2% stress capital buffer (SCB), meaning it must hold that percentage of capital above its minimum regulatory capital requirements.

Also, given its solid capital position, the company announced that it will raise its dividend 20% in the third quarter to $0.30 per share. It also announced that it has the capacity to execute on stock repurchases from the third quarter of 2022 through the second quarter of 2023.

Wells Fargo is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Dave Kovaleski has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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