Wells Fargo shares got downgraded to equal weight from overweight by Morgan Stanley.
Morgan Stanley cited valuation concern and regulatory issues as factors behind the rating cut. It also lowered its share-price target to $46 from $49.
Wells Fargo shares have risen +58% year to date, thereby reflecting the biggest gain among large-capitalization bank stocks. Morgan Stanley analyst Betsy Graseck sees a more balanced risk-reward skew, with “less upside in the base and bull cases.”
Last week, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the asset cap placed on Wells Fargo three years ago owing to regulatory issues will remain until the firm has “comprehensively fixed its problems.”
Graseck noted, “We are interpreting these comments to mean Wells must materially reduce its number of consent orders outstanding to have the asset cap lifted.” Graseck indicated that that could potentially take a lot of time to do, as the consent orders are issued by different regulators, and each of the 10 consent orders has the possibility to be a multiyear process.