This afternoon at 4:00 PM the results of CCAR will be made public. It is likely that your first reaction to this news is, “What the hell is CCAR and why should I care?” The answer to the first question is that CCAR is the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review portion of the annual Federal Reserve bank stress tests. In a nutshell, as part of the TARP bailout the banking sector received a few years ago, the largest banks now have to submit annual plans for their capital for approval by the Federal Reserve. For shareholders, the two major areas of interest are buybacks and dividends. So now you should have your answer to the question, “Why should I care?” If you are a bank shareholder, this is one of the major catalysts of the year for the stocks of these banks. If you’re not a bank shareholder, I suppose you shouldn’t really care. So… quit reading this post and do some work or something.
I own shares of WFC, so I will be watching these results closely. For those of you that own shares of any of the 30 banks listed here, you should be watching too. As I have mentioned before, with these stress tests, it’s all about the market’s expectations. There’s no way to know fully what the market’s expectations are, but one indicator is recent trading of big bank stocks. In that sense, I am someone worried about WFC, which is trading about 2% below its all-time high. That is some high expectations if I’ve ever seen them. Now before I terrify other WFC shareholders, remember this: just because expectations are high doesn’t mean they can’t be exceeded. WFC is a great company, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bold capital plan for 2014 gain approval from the Fed. But the other important thing to remember is that any sell-on-the-news negative stock price action that follows today’s results will be temporary as long as the fundamentals of the company remain strong.
One thing’s for sure: today (and tomorrow) should make for some exciting trading! Wonder why anyone would sell a stock after good news? I explain that concept along with much more in my book Beating Wall Street with Common Sense: How I Achieved a 400% Return from my Dorm Room. The book should be available within the next two weeks. Stay tuned!