Wachovia Corp. (WB) will slash its dividend and raise $7 billion in a share sale after reporting a surprising first-quarter loss on Monday of $393 million. The first-quarter loss for the Charlotte-based bank works out to 20 cents a share. That compared with profit of $2.3 billion, or $1.20 a share, a year earlier. Excluding merger-related and restructuring charges, the bank lost $270 million, or 14 cents a share. Revenue fell 4.5 percent to $7.89 billion from $8.27 billion last year. The results, tainted by exposure to credit markets, were worse than analysts anticipated. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected Wachovia to earn 40 cents per share on revenue of $7.98 billion. The earnings estimates typically exclude one-time items. The nation's No. 4 bank said it will cut its dividend by 41 percent to 37.5 cents per share from 64 cents per share.
Before you think of going bottom fishing on WB shares note the low FusionIQ master score of 27, which suggests shares are likely to be out of favor for a while, if not continue to move lower.