Bank of America May Close the Week Down, But Not Out


After hitting $11.90 this morning, just minutes after the opening bell, Bank of America began slipping at 10 a.m. and hasn't recovered so far. At 3:30 p.m., the bank was trading at $11.75, down 0.76%. As one of nine components in the red today, Bank of America is putting a drag on the Dow Jones Industrial Average on a day that it's within reach of closing above the 14,000 mark. While it may not be great to start the weekend with a declining price, the banking giant has at least recovered from Monday's big drop.

After last Friday's cyber outage was confirmed as an internal issue (and not a cyber-terrorism attack), B of A quickly improved with its price hovering around $11.90 since Tuesday. But with no major news breaks to speak of this week, investors have to rely on several factors to determine where Bank of America will move from here.

The bank has been embroiled in a lawsuit with monoline insurer MBIA and a recent court decision may point to an outcome. Tuesday night, a judge ruled in favor of insurer Assured Guaranty's claims of breach of contract against Flagstar Bancorp. The ruling essentially gave Assured everything it was seeking from Flagstar. Now, if this is any indication of what may happen in the BAC-MBIA case, the result may not be favorable to the bank.

2. Favorable press
This week has been a good one for Bank of America in terms of favorable mentions by analysts and money managers. Meredith Whitney, famous for her prediction of Citigroup's downfall in 2007, said that B of A is sure to reach $15 in the next six to nine months and should be able to quadruple its penny-per-share dividend this year. This favorable prediction followed on the heels of money manager Bruce Berkowitz's divulgence to Bloomberg last Friday of expectations that his top investments in Bank of America and AIG will quadruple in the next five to seven years. Add in Guggenheim analyst Marty Mosby's loud endorsement of B of A on Monday, saying both it and Citigroup have "more than 30% upside potential," and you've got yourself some pretty strong support for the bank's improvement this week.

3. New moves
Most have already heard about the bank's new focus on customers, but the company is taking that focus and putting a new spin on it. With many Wall Street firms adjusting their compensation plans, it's natural to expect BAC to follow suit. By changing their metrics to increasing new customers and boosting customer accounts, the bank is trying to focus compensation in its wealth management division, U.S. Trust, to increased customer interaction, better management and more focus on new business.

Bank of America is also taking some sets on its home turf. With new small-business lending initiatives in its home state of North Carolina, the company is trying to duplicate the success from its similar 2012 initiatives. Last year, the bank extended $230 million in new small-business loans to businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenue. By doing this small-scale work, Bank of America is trying to gain the nation's businesses' trust, even if it has to do it one at a time.

It's going to take some time to see how Bank of America's moves play out, but investors should definitely keep on eye out. To learn more about the most-talked-about bank out there, check out our in-depth company report on Bank of America. The report details Bank of America's prospects, including three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Just click here to get access.

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