If you’re in the market for an investment that could last for generations, I invite you to consider Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) stock.
It’s a banking giant that seems to respect the WFC stockholders – even if Wells Fargo’s reputation with its customers isn’t perfect.
You may have heard allegations about the bank opening new customer accounts and/or issuing debit and credit cards without the customers’ knowledge.
Plus, not everyone’s happy about Wells Fargo closing down all existing personal lines of credit. So, I’m not saying that every investor actually has to use the bank.
But just maybe, we can find reasons to like Wells Fargo – if not as a customer, then at least as a shareholder.
A Closer Look at WFC Stock
So, let’s start with a couple of things that I really like about the stock now.
For one thing, WFC stock has a trailing 12-month price-to-earnings ratio of 12.85. This indicates an attractive valuation during a time when bargains are rare in the financial markets.
Now, let’s talk about dividends. Not enough traders appreciate the power of compounding returns nowadays, I feel.
The board at Wells Fargo just announced that the company is going to double its dividend payout.
Starting on Sept. 1, the dividend will increase to 20 cents per share. I’ll admit, this probably won’t make you fabulously wealthy overnight. Nonetheless, the returns from those dividend distributions can add up over time if you re-invest them into WFC stock. That’s the magic of compounding at work.
As far as the price action is concerned, Wells Fargo shares went sideways from May through early August but might be perking up. I guess $50 is the most obvious resistance level, and by the time you read this, WFC stock might already have broken through that barrier. It’s teetering at $49.63 at this writing.
Either way, the $65 peak from early 2018 should be the next level to watch – and hopefully surmount, sooner or later.
Raking in the Revenues
The overall impression I want to convey is that Wells Fargo shares are a relatively safe investment.
Yet, that wouldn’t be true if the company wasn’t earning money. Thankfully, the recent data suggests that Wells Fargo is on solid financial footing.
Apparently, the company had the foresight to set aside funds during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to safeguard against loan losses.
Consequently, Wells Fargo has been able to release those funds as needed. That’s a great sign – and it might help the investors to feel better about this admittedly imperfect bank.
Let’s break down the numbers and see how Wells Fargo did during 2021’s second quarter.
Reportedly, the company took in $20.27 billion in revenues during the quarter. That’s a definite beat compared to the $17.77 billion that the analysts expected (according to Refinitiv estimates).
It’s also a 10% increase on a year-over-year basis.
Minding the Risks
So far, so good. But, what about the bottom line?
As it turns out, Wells Fargo recorded $1.38 in earnings per share during the second quarter. Only 97 cents per share were expected, so that’s another beat.
Plus, this result marks a reversal from the earnings loss that Wells Fargo reported in the year-earlier quarter.
So, what’s next for Wells Fargo?
CEO Charlie Scharf seems to imply that risk management will be top-of-mind.
“Our top priority continues to be building an appropriate risk and control infrastructure for a company of our size and complexity and we continue to invest in additional resources and devote significant management attention to this work,” Scharf said.
That’s a sensible strategy for the bank to take now.
As Scharf emphasizes his company’s cautious path forward, Wells Fargo should easily be able to maintain its dividend payments and overall shareholder value.
The Bottom Line
Not every investment has to be flashy or fancy. Sometimes, slow growth is the best strategy.
And really, that’s what I like about WFC stock.
You won’t get Reddit cred or meme-stock glory, but a stake in Wells Fargo is something you can count on, decade after decade.
On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.