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Analyst Dick Bove: Fed action against Wells Fargo ‘1,000 percent political’ and won’t hurt the bank

Analyst Dick Bove: Fed action against Wells Fargo ‘1,000 percent political’ and won’t hurt the bank

Wells Fargo is not permanently damaged “in any way, shape or form” by the Federal Reserve’s enforcement action, veteran banking analyst Dick Bove told CNBC on Monday.

Shares of Wells Fargo fell 8 percent Monday after the Fed said Friday it is restricting the bank’s size in response to “widespread consumer abuses.” Wells Fargo is prohibited from growing any larger than its total assets at the end of 2017 until “sufficient improvements” are made.

“This is 1,000 percent political. It has nothing to do with the economics of the company,” the research analyst at the Vertical Group said in an interview with “Power Lunch.”

Bove called the sell-off “incorrect.”

“There will be no reduction in the ability of this company to lend money, take in deposits or operate the way they have historically,” he said.

Bove noted that the company hasn’t grown its balance sheet over the last six quarters and will be shrinking its balance sheet over the next couple of years.

And that won’t have any meaningful impact on earnings, he said.

As for whether Wells Fargo will lose customers due to any damage to the brand’s reputation, Bove isn’t buying it. In fact, 17 months ago he had a sell rating on the stock on the theory that customers would walk away after the fake accounts scandal — and that didn’t happen, Bove said.

He now has a buy rating on Wells Fargo and a $68 price target.

“When the market comes back, Wells Fargo stock is likely to move up sharply higher,” he predicted.

Other Wall Street analysts, however, aren’t sticking with their bullish calls after the Fed’s action.

Among those who downgraded the stock on Monday is RBC Capital Markets. Analyst Gerard Cassidy reduced Wells Fargo’s rating to underperform from outperform, predicting the restrictions will detract from investor sentiment.

“We were surprised by the C&D [cease and desist] considering the amount of money, time and effort the company has already put into remedying the sales practice issues that were disclosed in late 2016,” Cassidy wrote Monday. “Investors will have difficulty determining when the C&D will be lifted, resulting in an ongoing ‘cloud’ over the stock price and earnings.”

The Fed had no comment on Bove’s remarks.

— CNBC’s Tae Kim contributed to this report.

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