Why Bank of America Missed Out on the Dow's Record High

Today was a return to record highs for the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) , which again chose to ignore uncertainties in Europe to focus instead on strong economic data from the U.S. on the housing and durable-goods orders fronts. Around the world, the U.S. is banking its case as a safe haven for foreign stock investors wary of keeping their money in more volatile home markets. By the close, the Dow finished up 112 points, and the S&P 500 came within two points of setting its own all-time record high.

But even with a triple-digit gain in the Dow, some stocks got left behind. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) fell almost 1%, as the bank continues to deal with fallout from bad mortgages. Even four years after the worst of the financial crisis, foreclosures are only now starting to rise in certain states where long, drawn-out foreclosure processes require substantial waiting periods. As optimistic as investors have been about B of A lately, it'll be a while longer before the bank can truly put the housing bust behind it, and focus its attention exclusively on returning to its regular operations.

General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) was also a loser on the day, declining 0.5%. Given the sensitivity that GE has had to economic conditions, you would have thought that a positive economic day for the Dow would send it higher. Yet, GE has had a global scope for a long time, and many of its most promising growth initiatives hinge on successful economic expansion for countries across the globe. Unless stronger business activity spreads beyond the U.S. to foreign markets, particularly those of emerging-economy nations, GE could lag behind its more domestically focused peers.

Finally, outside the Dow, Calumet Specialty Products Partners (NASDAQ: CLMT  ) dropped 4.5% after pricing a secondary offering of 5.25 million units at $37.50, well below yesterday's close of $39.10. The master limited partnership said that proceeds would be used for ordinary business purposes, but one place where it might be useful is in financing Calumet's portion of its Dakota Prairie Refinery joint venture with MDU Resources (NYSE: MDU  ) . The refinery will be built on a site in western North Dakota, strategically located in the heart of the Bakken shale play, and should be completed by late 2014 or early 2015. Given the growth potential of the Bakken, today's drop for Calumet could prove to be a short-lived blip.

Before criticizing Bank of America too much, it's important to remember that its stock doubled in 2012. Before you conclude that Bank of America might be a smarter sell than buy right now, get an expert opinion from Motley Fool analysts Anand Chokkavelu, CFA, and Matt Koppenheffer. Their premium research report is available now for a limited time, and inside, they go through B of A's advantages and challenges to give you three reasons to buy, and three reasons to sell. Click here now to claim your copy.


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