Bank Watch

Wells Fargo now most valuable bank in the world

Wells Fargo’s ranking as most valuable bank in the world comes as stocks of large U.S. banks continue to rise after plummeting following the financial crisis.
Wells Fargo’s ranking as most valuable bank in the world comes as stocks of large U.S. banks continue to rise after plummeting following the financial crisis. Bloomberg

Charlotte is home to the East Coast headquarters of the most valuable bank on the planet.

Wells Fargo’s market capitalization – the combined dollar value of all its outstanding shares – has surpassed that of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., which now has the second-largest market value among banks everywhere.

As of midmorning Wednesday, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo’s market capitalization stood at $298.4 billion. The Chinese bank’s figure was $219 billion.

Wells Fargo remains the fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets.

The milestone comes as stocks of large U.S. banks continue to rise after plummeting following the financial crisis. The KBW bank index of 24 large U.S. bank stocks has climbed about 6 percent this year. Wells Fargo’s shares are up about 5 percent this year.

Wells Fargo’s first-place ranking in market value reflects in part its larger number of outstanding shares compared with its peers.

Wells Fargo has about 5.1 billion shares outstanding, more than the 3.7 billion for JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank by assets. Shares of Wells Fargo closed at $57.95, below the $69.10 closing price for JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Wells Fargo’s position as most valuable bank also comes as it remains a smaller player in certain businesses, such as trading, that have fallen under more regulatory scrutiny since the financial crisis. But Wells Fargo’s executives have also faced recent questions from analysts as it pushes more into Wall Street-style businesses.

Wells Fargo made profit of $5.72 billion in the second quarter, down from profit of $5.73 billion in the same quarter last year. Its revenue of $21.3 billion in the quarter missed analysts’ expectations for $21.7 billion. Like other U.S. banks, Wells Fargo continues to face challenges to increase profitability at a time of low interest rates and a still-recovering economy.

Charlotte-based Bank of America, the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, has a market capitalization of about $189.9 billion, ranking it sixth for all banks worldwide. It has about 10.5 billion outstanding shares.

Bank of America’s shares closed at $18.08 on Tuesday. Its shares are up less than 1 percent this year.

  Comments