Earnings Preview: Bank of America shares rallying ahead of earnings report

theflyonthewall.com

Bank of America (BAC) is scheduled to report Q4 earnings before the open on Thursday, January 17, with a conference call scheduled for 8:30 am ET. Bank of America is a bank that provides a wide array of financial services. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for EPS of 2c on revenue of $21.03B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 0c-5c on revenue of $18.22B-$23B. LAST QUARTER: Bank of America reported Q3 EPS of 0c against estimates for (7c), on revenue of $19.41B against estimates for $18.35B. The bank's Q3 results were negatively impacted by 28c per share of one-time items, it reported. Credit quality improved across most of its major portfolios, as the bank's provision for credit losses sank to $1.77B, down from $3.4B during the same period in 2011. The total client balances in its Global Wealth and Investment Management unit rose 3% over the prior quarter to $2.3T, However, the revenue from its Consumer and Business Banking unit fell $379M year-over-year to $1.3B and its consumer real estate services unit reported a net loss of $877M. The bank stated that it was focused on working to return cash to shareholders, as its balance sheet was strong. Last month, however, the bank's CEO, Brian Moynihan, said that it would have to generate consistent earnings before the Fed would enable it to return cash to shareholders. On January 7 Bank of America reached a settlement with Fannie Mae over soured mortgage-backed investments. Under the deal, Bank of America agreed to pay Fannie Mae $3.6B in cash and buy back $6.75B in loans that it sold to the government-backed institution. Also on January 7, Bank of America announced that it had agreed to sell $215B in mortgage servicing assets to Nationstar (NSM), and reached a settlement with federal authorities over improper foreclosure practices. STREET RESEARCH: Analysts' outlook on Bank of America has been mixed in recent weeks. Credit Suisse downgraded the stock to Neutral from Outperform on January 9, citing valuation. Meanwhile, RBC Capital increased its price target on the shares to $14 from $12 on January 8, as the firm believes the bank's settlement with Fannie Mae and its sale of $306B of mortgages will improve the consistency of its earnings. The firm maintained an Outperform rating on the stock. Analyst Meredith Whitney was very bullish on December 19, telling the Wall street Journal that the bank's stock represented a "big opportunity, now that the bank had gotten the "junk out of the trunk." PRICE ACTION: Over the past 12 months, Bank of America's stock has risen about 77%, and its momentum has continued over the last three months, with the shares up nearly 25% over that period.

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