Why Bank of America Is Under the Weather This Week

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is up for the day, but down for the week: -0.60%, so far. Not very much, but down nonetheless. It's been a mixed bag for both the big banks and the market this week. If it's possible to be driven by uncertainty and confusion, that may be what's going on.

The tale of the tickers
Here's where some of the country's biggest banks are ending up for the week:

  • Citigroup is down a significant 1.78%.
  • JPMorgan Chase is up 0.36%.
  • Wells Fargo is down 1.03%.

The market overall also had an uneven week:

  • The S&P 500 is down 0.34%.
  • Conversely, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.25%.
  • Conversely again, the Nasdaq is down 0.40%.

I have one word for you: sequester
Three months ago, your eyes and ears were under near-constant assault by the phrase "fiscal cliff." Now it's all "sequester," all the time.

Sequestration cuts officially kick in today, as Congress and the president were unable to come up with any sort of agreement that would rescind them, or even just stave them off. If you remember, sequestration originated in 2011's summer debt-ceiling standoff, when the two parties decided on spending cuts that would automatically kick in at a later date as a pre-condition for lifting the country's debt ceiling at the time, unless other provisions were made.

Since no other provisions have been made, here we are, with unavoidable budget cuts that, according to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, could knock 0.5% off the country's growth. Uncertainty and confusion reign at the moment, in people's minds and hence in the markets. No one knows what's going to happen or exactly how these cuts are going to play out.

As if there's not enough economic uncertainty in the air, now we have sequestration -- and the politicians who got us into it (and won't get us out of it) -- to add into the mix. Chalk up B of A's up-and-down week, along with the rest of the market's indecisiveness to that unhappy, overused, four-syllable word.

But always remember, Fools: You're in this for the long term. So long as the fundamentals of any company you're invested in are solid, your money is in the right place. "Get rich slowly," as one of my favorite Foolish investing slogans goes.

Bank of America's stock doubled in 2012. Is there more yet to come? With significant challenges still ahead, it's critical to have a solid understanding of this megabank before adding it to your portfolio. In The Motley Fool's premium research report on B of A, analysts Anand Chokkavelu, CFA, and Matt Koppenheffer, Financials bureau chief, lift the veil on the bank's operations, including detailing three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Click here now to claim your copy, and as an added bonus, you'll receive a full year of free updates and expert guidance as key news breaks.


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