Bank of America's 'profit' included $5.6 billion in accounting gimmicks

Wonder why Bank of America (BAC) shares are tumbling? I don't really know. But until a few minutes ago I had not realized that the $4.2 billion in net income that B of A reported included $5.6 billion in accounting gimmicks. I feel like a broken record but it really is a waste of time for companies to write their own report cards since they are always going to report things in a way that makes things better than they are.

What were these magical $5.6 billion worth of gimmicks?

  • A $1.9 billion pretax gain on the sale of shares in China Construction Bank shares, in which B of A continues to own 17 percent

  • A $2.2 billion pop in the stated value of structured notes at Merrill

  • Another $1.5 billion boost to its trading books.