I already posted my preview of JPMorgan's earnings. Here's what to expect from Wells.
Last year, Wells reported first-quarter earnings of $0.67 a share. Analysts are expecting an increase to $0.73 for this year. The other three banks I've mentioned are all expected to have lower earnings than last year. It could be that Wall Street operations are weighing down the earnings of the others -- or it could point to better execution on Wells' part.
Even though Wells is looking to expand Wall Street operations as a way to cross-sell business clients, it's still generally a regular old Main Street bank.
As such, we can focus on the fundamentals of banking when we look at Wells' earnings -- metrics such as return on equity, efficiency ratio, and net interest margin.
Last year saw deposit growth, loan growth, and bottom-line growth. Ideally, we'd want to see those trends continue. In addition, we'll want to look at the quality of Wells' loans and its cost-cutting efforts.
Much of that cost-cutting will have to do with Wachovia, which Wells vultured on during the financial crisis. The integration was completed in the first quarter, and between the cessation of those expenses and the merger cost savings, Wells expects to lower quarterly non-interest expenses by about $1.5 billion from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012.
But it's not just about costs. We want to see whether cross-sell master Wells can increase metrics such as products per customer in its East Coast-heavy Wachovia branches.
On the other side, we'll want to see what Wells has to say on the iffy assets it's running off from the Wachovia deal.
Get ready for more earnings-season surprises
For more earnings-season insight, check out our brand-new free report: "5 Stocks Investors Need to Watch This Earnings Season." It details what to look for from Apple and four other must-watch companies as they report their latest results. Access it now.