The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 17, 2013

Bank of America earnings spook investors

Reports net income of $2.6B


Investors were skeptical Wednesday morning, after the bank reported first-quarter earnings that missed analyst's expectations.


The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank generated net income of $2.6 billion, or 20 cents per share, on $23.7 billion of revenue. Analysts expected Bank of America to earn 22 cents per share, on revenue of $23.4 billion.

While profits quadrupled from a year earlier, most of the gains are related to the bank's efforts to clean up its balance sheet, leaving investors unimpressed.

Shares of Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) sank more than 3% in premarket trading

Consumer banking is the largest division within the bank, and its revenue and profit dipped from a year earlier. Mortgage banking income also slumped from a year earlier.

Those declines offset gains from investment banking fees and other divisions.

CEO Brian Moynihan said Bank of America is "balanced, focused and moving forward," citing growth across various business lines, including small business and middle-market lending, mortgage origination, wealth management, and investment banking.

Still, with what's seen as a bloated cost base, analysts have been closely watching how quickly the bank can cut expenses. Bank of America managed to shed $1 billion of expenses from last year, bringing the total to $18.2 billion.

Bank of America has seen its clean-up efforts cut into profits in recent quarters. Its fourth-quarter earnings included a number of one-time litigation charges related to its lending and foreclosure practices.

Bank of America is the fifth major bank to report first-quarter results.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) and Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) disappointed the market with weaker-than-expected revenue, while Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) spooked investors with an increase in risky bets. But Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) got a thumbs up from investors after reporting profits and revenue that topped estimates.

Earnings from Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500) are due out Thursday morning. To top of page

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