Wachovia lets market 'walk over ya'
How low can Wachovia stock go? It's back in the single digits, falling below $9 a share just around 2 p.m. EST, and things look ugly. Wachovia? It's not Lehman, not AIG, not Washington Mutual, but its shares are down 23 percent today, falling faster than its CD rates are rising.
Remember, folks, this is the largest banking company operating in Florida -- or at least neck and neck here with Bank of America. Wachovia's precarious state does not help this Sunshine State, and North Carolina-based Wachovia may find itself in the arms of another bank soon if it's not careful.
Wachovia, though huge in asset size, now has a wimpy market value of $19-billion. That's a hair bigger than the much smaller BB&T and not much larger than that of SunTrust. Here's the killer, though. Wells Fargo, a potential buyer with just over $600-billion in assets, has a market value more than five times that of Wachovia, even though Wachovia has more than $800-billion in assets. There's a disturbance in the force.
UPDATE: Wachovia shares closed Wednesday at $9.12, down 20.7 percent on another rough trading day as rumors swirled of a potential combination of Wachovia and Morgan Stanley.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist