Sask. finances still on track despite low oil prices, finance minister says

by Shelton on December 2nd, 2014

filed under Finances

The provinces budget remains on track, according to the mid-year financial report released by the government this morning.

Finance Minister Ken Krawetzis still predicting about a $71-million surplus, which is only half a million less than he expected when the budget was presented in March.

Krawetzsspring budget was balanced, but his projections were based on numerous assumptions — including that the price of oil would average around $94US per barrel.

In recent days, the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate Crude has fallen below $75.

Despite that,provincialrevenue is up about $125 million from budget time.The government attributes that to higher potash revenue and Crown land sales.

Which Credit Score Should I Pay Attention to?

by Shelton on December 2nd, 2014

filed under Credit Scores

There is no one credit score. There are many.

The one that matters the most is the credit score that a lender looks at when considering your loan or credit card application. So how do you make sense of all of the credit scores out there?

Most lenders use FICO scores or VantageScores when evaluating consumer credit applications. And among those, there are hundreds of custom scores for specific uses. All are based on payment history, debt usage, age of credit accounts, credit mix and credit inquiries the basics of great credit. And all are designed to predict how likely consumers are to repay a loan. The three major credit reporting agencies have all developed scores as well, and sometimes they develop custom scores for particular clients. Each has its own method to predict which consumers are most — or least — likely to pay loans or credit cards as agreed.

The credit bureaus also make some scores available to consumers. These are often given to consumers for free, and they can be good tools for learning about credit and monitoring your credit.

Another thing to keep in mind when comparing your credit scores is that they may have different ranges. In other words, the highest score in one model may be 990, while in another it may be 850. That means a similar number using different models may mean something quite different.

Though that sounds overwhelming, keep in mind that the basics of all credit scores are the same and are based on key components found in your credit reports you can get free copies of your credit reports once a year under federal law.

Free Credit ScoreGet your FREE Credit Score More in less than 90 seconds. FREE and updated every 30 days. Checking your score wont hurt your credit.
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Because lenders won’t likely tell you the credit score they are using, it’s important to pay attention to the basics of good credit. If you are doing that, you should have a good score no matter which score the lender uses. Another advantage of monitoring your credit is that if theres a large, unexplained drop in your score, you will know it right away. That could be a sign of identity theft or fraud, and the sooner you address either problem, the easier it will be to untangle.

You can check back each month for a new score and to monitor your progress as you build a positive credit record and credit score by paying your credit and loan accounts as agreed, keeping balances lows, not taking on too much debt.

So don’t be shocked if a free credit score that you receive on a credit card statement is different from the one you saw when you applied for a car loan last month. You can also get two free credit scores on, updated monthly, along with details on how your credit stacks up based on the five credit basics.

All credit scores are based on information found in your credit reports. And that’s why it’s important to monitor your credit reports regularly and dispute any mistakes.

If there are accounts you don’t recognize, be sure to investigate. Your credit file could have been mixed with another consumer’s or, worse, a thief may be opening credit accounts in your name.  Correcting errors on credit reports is especially important if you know you will soon be applying to finance a home or car, because your credit profile helps lenders decide which interest rate you qualify for — and having a good credit score can save you money. (You can see just how much youll spend on debt over a lifetime with this interactive tool.)

More on Credit Reports amp; Credit Scores:

  • The Credit Reports Learning Center
  • What’s a Good Credit Score?
  • What’s a Bad Credit Score?

Image: iStock

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Wells Fargo Earnings Preview: Marginal Revenue Growth Expected

by Shelton on December 2nd, 2014

filed under Online Business Credit

Investors will be looking for Wells Fargo to add to its 11
consecutive quarters of profit growth, despite the uncertainty
surrounding the fiscal cliff that plagued the most recent


Analysts on average predict that Wells Fargo will report revenue
for the quarter that rose more than three percent year-over-year to
$21.29 billion. However, per-share earnings are expected to come to
$0.89, which would be about 18 percent higher than in the same
quarter of last year. That consensus earnings estimate is the same
as it was 60 days ago. But analysts have underestimated earnings
per share (

) in all but one of the past seven quarters. The third-quarter EPS
of $0.88 beat the consensus estimate by a penny.

Wells Fargo attributed the record third-quarter earnings to the
boom in its mortgage lending business, which it said would likely
last a few more quarters. But revenue came in below projections as
the net interest margins shrank. The share price rose marginally in
the week following the third-quarter report.

The analysts consensus full-year forecast calls for $3.34 per
share earnings on revenue of $85.68 billion. That would be up from
$2.82 per share and $80.95 billion in the previous year. That
consensus EPS estimate has slipped in the past 60 days from

The Company

Wells Fargo amp; Company is the second largest bank in the
United States in deposits and the largest money center bank by
market capitalization, which is nearly $184 billion. It has about
9,000 locations in 35 countries. This Samp;P 500 component was
founded in 1852 and is headquartered in San Francisco. John Stumpf
has been the chief executive since June 2007 and chairman since
January 2010.

Competitors include Bank of America (NYSE:

), Citigroup (NYSE:

) and JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:

). All three are scheduled to report their four-quarter results
next week. Analysts predict the latter two will post strong
results, while Bank of America is expected to report smaller EPS
and revenue relative to the previous year.

During the three months that ended in December, Wells Fargo
elected a new board member, launched a new online Business Credit
Center for small business owners, increased its share buyback
program and approved a record amount in SBA loans.


Wells Fargos long-term EPS growth forecast is about nine
percent, and the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is less than the
industry average. The operating margin is greater than the industry
average, and the return on equity is better than those of the
competitors mentioned above. The number of shares sold short
represents less than one percent of the float. The short interest
has been dwindling since October.

Of the 36 analysts surveyed by Thomson/First Call who follow the
stock, 21 recommend buying shares and only one recommends selling.
The analysts believe the stock has some room to run as their mean
price target represents about 10 percent potential upside. That
target price is a level the stock has not seen since 2008.

Shares have traded mostly between $32 and $36 since March.
However, the share price is more than 18 percent higher than a year
ago. It is about four percent above both the 50-day and 200-day
moving averages. Over the past six months, the stock has
underperformed the competitors mentioned previously, as well as the
Samp;P 500.


Bullish: Investors interested in exchange traded funds invested
in Wells Fargo might want to consider the following trades:

iShares Samp;P Global Financials (NYSE:

) is more than 29 percent higher than a year ago. iShares Dow Jones
US Financial Sector (NYSE:

) is almost 25 percent higher than a year ago. iShares Russell 1000
Value Index (NYSE:

) is about 15 percent higher than a year ago.

Bearish: Traders may prefer to consider these alternative
positions in the same industry:

Bank of America (NYSE:

) is up about 91 percent in the past year. Citigroup (NYSE:

) is up about 46 percent in the past year. JP Morgan (NYSE:

) is up almost 29 percent in the past year.

(c) 2013 Benzinga does not provide investment advice.
All rights reserved.

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