Why Wells Fargo Is Up but Citi Is Tanking

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As the Dow (INDEX: ^DJI) shot up almost a percent in the early going today (mostly on China economic news), two American megabanks reported earnings this morning: Wells Fargo (NYS: WFC) and Citigroup (NYS: C) .

If you're looking for the numbers, Citi reported pre-provision fourth-quarter revenue of $17.2 billion, resulting in earnings of $1.16 billion, or $0.38 a share. Wells hit $20.6 billion in pre-provision revenue, resulting in $4.1 billion in profit, or $0.73 a share.

While Citigroup disappointed due largely to its investment banking performance (Dow component JPMorgan (NYS: JPM) reported similar problems last week), Wells Fargo beat last year's results and analyst expectations.

The silver lining in Citi's report was the improvement in loan performance. This echoes JPMorgan's results last week. Wells' performance makes sense in this context. It focuses on retail and commercial banking (i.e., lending) rather than investment banking.

Although each was up in early going, all of this spells bad news for Dow component Bank of America (NYS: BAC) , Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, each of which reports later this week. The former has significant investment banking activities and the latter two are pure investment banks.

So, it's a good day for Wells, a bad day for Citi on the big-bank front. If you're looking for a quality smaller bank, I detail a stock that's flying under the radar in our brand-new free report: "The Stocks Only the Smartest Investors Are Buying." I invite you to take a free copy to find out the name of the company I believe Warren Buffett would be interested in if he could still invest in small companies.

At the time this article was published

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