Mega-Banking News: Wells Fargo & Company (WFC), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM), Citigroup Inc (C)

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Editor’s Note: Related tickers: Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), Syncora Holdings Ltd. (PINK:SYCRF)

Wells Fargo PT Raised to $43.00 (WFC) (MideastTime)
Analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upped their price target on shares of Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) from $42.00 to $43.00 in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday, Stock Ratings Network.com reports. The firm currently has an “outperform” rating on the stock. A number of other firms have also recently commented on WFC. Analysts at Barclays Capital raised their price target on shares of Wells Fargo from $42.00 to $45.00 in a research note to investors on Monday. They now have an “overweight” rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at Zacks reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Wells Fargo in a research note to investors on Monday. They now have a $39.00 price target on the stock. Finally, analysts at Morgan Stanley raised their price target on shares of Wells Fargo to $41.00 in a research note to investors on Monday. They now have an “equal weight” rating on the stock.

Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC)

WELLS FARGO CAPITAL FINANCE EXPANDS TECHNOLOGY FINANCE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM (BusinessWire)
Wells Fargo Capital Finance, a leader in commercial finance and part of Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), announced today the expansion of its Technology Finance lending capabilities in the United Kingdom. Steven Osborne, previously an underwriter with Burdale Financial Limited, also part of Wells Fargo Capital Finance, will lead the initiative for the London-based team to deliver financing to UK-based software and technology companies. Steven has been named business development officer and director, and will serve as the primary point of contact for Technology Finance throughout the UK. “Over the last 13 years, Wells Fargo Capital Finance has had great success helping both private and public software and technology companies access the financing they need to grow, whether organically or through acquisition,” said Osborne. “While we have completed several transactions with UK software and technology companies, we look forward to expanding our local coverage.”

Wells Fargo reports another record result (BankingTimes)
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) has reported that in the first quarter of 2013 it achieved record net income of $5.2bn, equating to $0.92 per diluted common share. This compares to $4.2bn (or $0.75 per share) in the corresponding period last year, which was a previous record high. It is also a slight increase on the $5.1bn ($0.91 per share) that the firm achieved in the fourth quarter of 2012. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf described the results of the first quarter as outstanding, with quarterly earnings (and earnings per share) rising by double-digits compared to the same period in 2012.

Wells Fargo’s chief economist says to expect another slowdown in 2Q (BizJournals)
John Silvia, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC)’s chief economist, says the U.S. economy is slowing down as consumers tap the brakes, the Charlotte Business Journal reported. Silvia, on the bank’s monthly video outlook, says after a relatively strong first quarter, the economy is losing some steam. It’s a trend that has plagued the U.S. economy for several years. Why? Silvia says limited income growth for the middle class, inflation, higher taxes and overall uncertainty has combined to take some air out of the economy.

Southern Upgraded by Wells Fargo to Outperform (SO) (Zolmax)
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) upgraded shares of Southern (NYSE: SO) from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a report released on Monday, TheFlyOnTheWall.com reports. Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Analysts at TheStreet reiterated a buy rating on shares of Southern in a research note to investors on Monday, April 1st. Separately, analysts at Zacks reiterated a neutral rating on shares of Southern in a research note to investors on Tuesday, March 26th. They now have a $48.00 price target on the stock. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. Southern has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $46.46.

Carmaker ties boost lending at Chase, Wells Fargo (AutoNews)
Expanding retail partnerships with automakers are paying off for two of the biggest auto lenders. Wells Fargo Dealer Services saw record originations of $6.8 billion in the first quarter, a 10 percent increase from a year earlier, parent Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) reported. Meanwhile, at Chase Auto Finance, first-quarter originations were $6.5 billion, up 12 percent from a year ago, parent JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) said. The banks reported first-quarter earnings last week. Both banks said automaker partnerships were a factor in their auto finance growth.

Activists Turn Up the Heat on J.P. Morgan’s Board (WSJ)
Activists are cranking up their campaign to force changes on JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) -3.18% & Co.’s board in the wake of a multibillion-dollar trading loss. The CtW Investment Group intends to file a document with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission today urging shareholders to vote against the re-election of four directors — James Crown, Laban Jackson, Ellen Futter and David Cote. Crown is chair of the board’s risk committee and Jackson chairs the audit committee. Futter and Cote also serve on the risk committee. “J.P. Morgan Chase shareholders cannot rely on existing directors to address oversight failures,” the CtW says in its letter, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. CtW intends to send the letter today to a number of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) shareholders.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) Lawsuit Stalled By Jefferson County Judge (USAStockReport)
A judge has ruled that the bond insurer, Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. cannot proceed with the lawsuit that it has filed against JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) (Closed: $47.93, down by 2.20%) as it would be an interference with the reorganization of Alabama’s Jefferson county which is the United States’ largest biggest municipal bankruptcy. Judge Thomas B. Bennett of the U.S Bankruptcy court in Birmingham, Alabama has found that the circumstances, facts and lawyers of the case that Assured has against JP Morgan are similar to a case that has been filed against Jefferson County by Syncora Holdings Ltd. (PINK:SYCRF) (Closed: $0.390, Down by 12.36%).

Wells Fargo Joins JPMorgan to Raise $3.5 Billion After Earnings (BusinessWeek)
Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), the most profitable U.S. banks, are selling a combined $3.5 billion of debt and preferred stock after generating record income in the first quarter. Wells Fargo issued $1.15 billion of five-year debt that pays 63 basis points more than the three-month London interbank offered rate and an additional $850 million of its 1.5 percent securities due January 2018 that yield 75 basis points more than similar-maturity Treasuries, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. : 100,000 Jobs Mission Announces 64,628 U.S. Veterans Hired Through First Quarter 2013 (4-Traders)
The 100,000 Jobs Mission announced today that its member companies have collectively hired 64,628 U.S. military veterans through the first quarter of 2013. This private sector initiative was launched in early 2011 by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and ten other companies with the goal to collectively hire at least 100,000 veterans by 2020. In two years, the 100,000 Jobs Mission has grown to 101 companies and has evolved into a sustainable initiative to hire veterans and share best practices. As part of their hiring initiatives, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and the 100,000 Jobs Mission sponsored a major hiring event last week in Dallas for more than 2,100 U.S. military veterans, transitioning service members, Guard and Reserve members and military spouses.

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