John Ransom

Welcome to John Ransom’s Stocks in the News where the headlines meet the trendlines:

Stock number one: Bank of America Corporation

Bank of America's Cost Cutting Will Face Scrutiny- Yahoo Finance

Bank of America (BAC_) is set to report earnings Wednesday morning, and once again the focus will be on how well the bank is doing at cutting expenses.

Analysts are looking for the bank to earn 27 cents per share, compared to 28 cents during the third quarter and 29 cents during the fourth quarter of 2012.

"We doubt that weak Q4 results will have a significant impact on share prices with investors far more focused on core earnings trends for the year ahead," argued Atlantic Equities analyst Richard Staite in a Dec. 19 preview of the banking sector.

Note: Price to book: 0.80

Symbol: BAC

Trailing PE 25; Forward PE: 13

PEG: 1.11

Dividend: 0.20%

Estimate Trend: Flat

Ransom Note Trendline: Buy Bank of America

BAC Chart

BAC data by YCharts

Stock number two: JP Morgan Chase

The end of the mortgage party? Home lending plummets at Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, - MarketWatch

The mortgage party is officially over.

Rising mortgage rates mean that fewer people are refinancing their homes, which bludgeoned fourth-quarter mortgage results at Wells Fargo & Co. WFC +0.42%and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM +0.40% , the country’s leading residential lenders, according to earnings reports released early Tuesday.

Note: Price to Book: 1.11

Symbol: JPM

Trailing PE: 13; Forward PE: 10

PEG: 2.20

Dividend: 2.6

Estimate Trend: Down

Ransom Note Trendline: Hold JP Morgan Chase

JPM Chart

JPM data by YCharts

Stock number three: Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo’s Mortgage Business Sputters —Wall Street Journal

Wells Fargo, the largest mortgage lender in the U.S., saw profits for its mortgage lending division drop by 49% from the fourth quarter of 2012 to $1.6 billion. The bank’s home-lending originations totaled $50 billion, compared with the $125 billion a year earlier and $80 billion in the previous quarter.

Note: Price to Book: 1.57

Symbol: WFC

Trailing PE: 12; Forward PE: 11

PEG: 1.34

Dividend: 2.6

Estimate Trend: Up

Ransom Note Trendline: Avoid Wells Fargo

WFC Chart

WFC data by YCharts

John Ransom

John Ransom’s writings on politics and finance have appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Colorado Statesman, Pajamas Media and Registered Rep Magazine amongst others. Until 9/11, Ransom worked primarily in finance as an investment executive for NYSE member firm Raymond James and Associates, JW Charles and as a new business development executive at Mutual Service Corporation. He lives in San Diego. You can follow him on twitter @bamransom.

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