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Up 50%, Is Wells Fargo Still a Bargain?

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® - Updated Jun 22, 2021 at 2:36PM

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Wells Fargo has been one of the best-performing financial stocks, but could it still have lots of upside potential?

At the beginning of 2021, contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, called Wells Fargo (WFC 0.68%) his best buy for the year on our Industry Focus podcast. Since then, shares are up more than 50%. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on June 7, Frankel explains to host Jason Moser why he's still a Wells Fargo shareholder.

Matt Frankel: I got a lot of flack on Twitter for picking Wells Fargo in the first of the year.

Jason Moser: Yeah, man. That worked out for you. Everybody's focused on these SaaS businesses and all that stuff.

Frankel: All of a sudden, my portfolio of banks and real estate don't look so "OK boomer" after the first few months of this year.

Moser: Yeah, exactly.

Frankel: Anyway, Ken's question says, "Wells Fargo. Based on your discussions, I bought Wells Fargo in January. Unlike many other Motley Fool recommendations and almost all of my 70-plus stocks, I didn't see this as a long hold, as an undervalue middle-performing bank. I'm up 44%, so thank you. What are your thoughts about the bank going forward?"

I think the banking sector in general. First of all, Wells Fargo's valuation has somewhat normalized, I would say. Meaning that the gap between where it was valued and where other banks are valued has narrowed a bit. That's what I was pointing out in January, that I thought it was really undervalued as a business compared to a lot of other banks. I think the banking sector in general has a lot to gain over the next year or so. Right now lending rates are at record lows. As those start to tick up, profit margins will go up considerably. The economy is growing, we're adding jobs, wage growth is off the charts right now because we're having a labor shortage. All of that leads to more demand for banking products, more savings, more borrowing. I think there's just a lot of upside in the banking sector over the next year or two. I think Wells Fargo is better positioned than most to benefit from it. Not necessarily because they're undervalued at this point, because they are the most commercial focused bank. Meaning that they make most of their money from just savings and loan, as opposed to banks like Bank of America and Citi and JP Morgan that have big investment banks. I think Wells Fargo is in a great position to benefit over the next couple of years, I am not selling my shares. I have sold shares of one bank stock recently.

Moser: Which was?

Frankel: U.S. Bank. I sold some of my U.S. Bank shares. I bought that the perfect day during last March when everything was going crazy. I think I got U.S. Bank for like $30 a share and I wanted to consolidate, I ended up with banks making up way too much of my portfolio and that was the one that I liked the least at that point. I still own big positions in Bank of America and Wells Fargo and I'm planning to keep it that way.

Citigroup is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Bank of America is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Wells Fargo is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. JPMorgan Chase is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Jason Moser has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Matthew Frankel, CFP owns shares of Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Twitter. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Wells Fargo & Company Stock Quote
Wells Fargo & Company
$46.06 (0.68%) $0.31
Citigroup Inc. Stock Quote
Citigroup Inc.
$54.18 (0.20%) $0.11
Bank of America Corporation Stock Quote
Bank of America Corporation
$36.64 (1.08%) $0.39
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Stock Quote
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
$123.63 (0.95%) $1.17
U.S. Bancorp Stock Quote
U.S. Bancorp
$49.30 (0.45%) $0.22
Twitter, Inc. Stock Quote
Twitter, Inc.
$44.40 (-0.23%) $0.10

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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