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Wells Fargo Beats on Profit and Revenue, but Shares Fall
13 Apr 2012 EDT - CNBC.com
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Wells Fargo reported higher first-quarter profits on Friday as the bank posted strong mortgage banking results and set aside less money for bad loans.

Wells Fargo , the nation's fourth-biggest U.S. bank, said net income was $4.25 billion, or 75 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $3.76 billion, or 67 cents, a share in the same period a year earlier.

The average estimate from analysts was 73 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. It was not immediately clear whether the results were comparable.

The bank's expenses increased to $13 billion from $12.5 billion in the fourth quarter, partly because of higher personnel costs and $314 million in expenses primarily related to higher legal reserves. The bank said it is targeting expenses of $11.25 billion in the fourth quarter, which is at the upper range of its goal for an efficiency program called Project Compass.

The San Francisco-based bank, reporting a few days earlier than in the past, kicked off the bank earnings season along with JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank by assets. JPMorgan said its net income was $5.4 billion, or $1.31 a share, compared with $5.6 billion, or $1.28 a share a year earlier.

Mortgage banking income at the largest U.S. originator of home loans increased to $2.8 billion from $2 billion a year ago. The bulk of the bank's mortgage applications were for refinancings.

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