Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) ended the trading day yesterday with the biggest percentage rise of the big banks, all of which came back strong after a downward trend in the morning. Some of that bounce was likely due to good feelings about the upcoming jobs report, which came out earlier today, but didn't deliver -- showing a slight rise in the unemployment rate to 7.6% for May, compared to 7.5% in April.
Get ready for extensive misery
Though the Bureau of Labor Statistics characterized the new numbers as "essentially unchanged", I expect that markets, jittery as they are over what the Federal Reserve plans to do next in regards to QE3, will react strongly -- and negatively -- to this news, changing a nice finish yesterday to a dreary start today.
The banks had rebounded nicely, considering the news that the Refinance Index dropped by 15% within a week, as higher interest rates put the brakes on mortgage activity that had been going great guns since late 2011. For Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), the stock price rise was especially welcome, since investors appeared to be concerned earlier in the week about the hearing that began Monday in Manhattan regarding its $8.5 billion settlement with 22 institutional investors.
For Wells and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), of course, any news regarding mortgages could affect stock prices, since they both are much more active in that market than B of A -- yet, they perked up late yesterday, as well. JPMorgan may take a little bit of a beating today, however, based upon an early morning analyst downgrade on the stock from Outperform to Neutral.
Good news may buoy Wells a bit today
Wells put a nagging mortgage-related issue behind it this week, which think will help send some positive vibrations its way today. While denying culpability, Wells settled a complaint by the National Fair Housing Alliance regarding a claim that the bank let foreclosed homes in minority areas go to rack and ruin, even as it maintained those in predominately white neighborhoods. Wells has committed a total of $42 million to rectifying the problem, while Bank of America and U.S. Bancorp(NYSE:USB), which face similar complaints, have yet to settle their own issues with the NFHA.
And, so, expect a bit of volatility today, but don't take it to heart. As important as the unemployment report is, it will be only one issue that could affect bank stocks 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.
Fool contributor Amanda Alix has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.