When you're on the kind of nightmare run that Wells Fargo has been on for almost two weeks now, it stands to reason that you're going to get knocked down a few pegs on the old social ladder.
And in the cool girl clique that is the Big Four banks - in which WFC once reigned supreme as the biggest - John Stumpf's inability to manage a burgeoning crisis or cogently defend himself before a bloodthirsty Senate banking committee has severely compromised Wells' standing as the HBIC. Even worse for Wells Fargo is that the new leader of the pack is JPMorgan.
Jamie Dimon's crew has never been afraid to throw elbows, so it came as no surprise that JPM has not taken it easy on WFC, but a research note published today shows that Wells might need a miracle to stay in the clique. JPM analyst Vivek Juneja lowered its guidance on WFC, taking it from neutral to overweight and dropping its price target from $53.50 to $48. Juneja wrote that WFC's unauthorized account scandal and Stumpf's savaging at the hands of Elizabeth Warren will lead to even more headaches for the bank. That alone would be enough to convey that JPM doesn't want to be seen with WFC these days, but Juneja is apparently not a fan of subtlety...and an expert in catty shade.
Here's a taste:
"What is particularly disappointing to us is that we and investors have long held Wells Fargo management in very high regard — they have been smart contrarian thinkers and made thoughtful decisions. We expect management to turn this around but it will likely take some time and expense — hence the downgrade.”
We used to think Wells Fargo was cool and stuff, but it turns out that Wells kind of sucks, and also it smells bad.
One would assume that Wells has almost become inured to indignities over the past few weeks, but if Brian Moynihan refuses to sit with John Stumpf at lunch it will be the clearest sign yet that Stumpfy needs to maybe drop out of school.