Wells Fargo Bounds Higher While Peers Fizzle

It's been a crazy week on Wall Street, as markets swing wildly up and down, trying to get a handle on what the latest news from the Federal Reserve's most recent meeting means to the investors of the world.

But, after suffering a terrific tumble yesterday, things are looking up today. A mid-morning check finds both the Dow and the S&P 500 in the green, and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) looking especially perky, having climbed nearly 1.6% already today.

Most big banks still sulking
Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the other big banks. Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) has lost more than 3% since opening, while JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  )  is down by nearly 0.50%. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , which had so bravely held its head above the $13 per share watermark for over a month, stumbled badly yesterday, falling to $12.89. The bloodbath continues today, and B of A has dropped almost 2.5% just this morning.

While much of the market unrest is likely because of continuing jitters concerning the Fed's plans for QE3 and China's economic lethargy, it is possible that some of the less-than-flattering news about the banking industry that graced headlines during the past week is to blame, as well.

For instance, the monitor's report concerning the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement pointed at all of the Big Four, including Wells. That certainly couldn't account for the massacre that occurred yesterday, though -- which was most probably part and parcel of the unstable ground that markets found themselves treading after Uncle Ben's press conference on Wednesday.

One recent news item, however, could account for Wells' elevation above its peers: Bloomberg reports that regulators are thinking of doubling the capital requirements for the biggest U.S. banks, bringing to 6% the ratio of capital-to-assets these institutions will be required to hold. Guess which bank already meets these stringent rules: that's right, Wells Fargo.

Of course, nothing has been decided yet on that score, and there is doubtless still some volatility in the markets, which may not subside today. As Foolish investors well know, a snapshot look at any given stock, taken in isolation, can be detrimental to the long-term view. The big picture, as always, is what really matters, and the normal ups and downs of the market are something that investors with their eyes on the prize take into consideration, knowing that these hills and valleys are just part of the business of intelligent, long-term investing.

Wells Fargo's dedication to solid, conservative banking helped it vastly outperform its peers during the financial meltdown. Today, Wells is the same great bank as ever, but with its stock trading at a premium to the rest of the industry, is there still room to buy, or is it time to cash in your gains? To help figure out whether Wells Fargo is a buy today, I invite you to download our premium research report from one of The Motley Fool's top banking analysts. Click here now for instant access to this in-depth take on Wells Fargo.


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