Bank of America Reports Mixed Results For Q4

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) reported mixed results for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year. The company reported that its earnings surged 47 percent in the quarter through Dec. 31, rising to $4.34 billion, or 40 cents a share, from $2.95 billion, or 27 cents a share, a year ago. On an adjusted basis, the bank earned 42 cents per share, beating surveyed analysts’ average estimate of 38 cents.

Bank of America missed analysts’ estimates for fourth-quarter revenue. Total revenue rose 2.1 percent to $20 billion, missing estimates of $20.8 billion. Net interest income rose 6.3 percent to $10.3 billion, falling short of the $10.6 billion average estimate. Net interest margin was unchanged from three months earlier and up 2.14 percent from a year earlier at 2.23 percent.

Trading was a highlight for Bank of America in terms of revenue. Wall Street firms benefited from a rebound in fixed-income trading in the last few months of the year. Fixed-income trading revenue for the bank climbed to $1.96 billion, short of analysts’ $2.1 billion average estimate. Chief Financial Officer Paul Donofrio said that fixed-income trading did well in the first two months of the quarter, but tapered off at the end of the year. Equity trading rose 11 percent to $948 million, in line with predictions.

Expenses fell 6 percent to $13.2 billion for the fourth quarter, more than expected. Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan has been cutting expenses for years to cope with persistently low interest rates. Last year, the bank set a target to cut $5 billion from annual operating expenses by 2018, about 8 percent less than 2015.

Investment-banking revenue fell 3.9 percent to $1.22 billion, beating the $1.14 billion average estimate of analysts. Consumer-banking profit rose 11 percent from a year earlier to $1.92 billion, while income from credit cards fell 1.8 percent to $1.29 billion. Mortgage revenue almost doubled to $519 million from a year earlier.

During an earnings call with journalists, Donofrio forecast sturdy income growth ahead thanks to rising interest rates. The Federal Reserve’s quarter-point rate increase in December, only the second hike since 2006, is expected to boost lending margins. Donofrio also predicted the bank would produce an additional $600 million in net interest income during the first quarter of 2017.

Bank of America shares have gained about 35 percent since President-elect Donald Trump’s victory on Nov. 8. Investors expect financial firms to benefit from rising interest rates and relaxed regulation. Bond-market volumes and U.S. stocks have soared following the presidential election.