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Why Wells Fargo Stock Fell 15% in December

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos – Updated Apr 16, 2019 at 5:11PM

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The bank giant suffered due to investors' macroeconomic worries, but has a chance to change the narrative in an upcoming earnings report.

What happened

Banking giant Wells Fargo (WFC -0.74%) underperformed the market last month, shedding 15% compared to the 9% slump in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The drop capped a tough year for shareholders: The bank's stock lost 24% while the broader market fell 6%.

A bank teller aids a customer.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

The full year decline had a lot to do with the fact that bank stocks did so well in 2017, but December's dip in particular was spurred by fears of a global economic slowdown. These concerns affected all stocks, but especially banks like Wells Fargo, since any economic slump would have  immediate negative impacts on its loan and deposit businesses. On top of that, the company trailed peers in stock returns last year as it struggled to return efficiency, profitability, and loan growth to the levels it achieved before its fake account frauds became public, and the scandals began tarnishing the Wells Fargo brand.  

Now what

CEO Tim Sloan and his executive team are hoping to show progress along those lines when the company posts its fourth-quarter earnings results on Jan. 15. Investors might see improved earnings power and stronger deposit growth in that report, but they'll mainly be looking for reassurance from management that Wells Fargo is regaining its customers' trust.

Check out the latest Wells Fargo earnings call transcript.

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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