I've been watching Bank of America's (NYSE: BAC ) stock all morning, and I couldn't help but notice that, despite lots of trading activity, the bank hasn't really budged much since the opening bell. The share price may move slightly up or down, but it is staying relatively stable, and in today's market -- that's saying something.
Of course, it's not unusual for B of A to be a volume leader on any given day, but the lack of downward motion gives me hope that the stock will find itself on an upward climb as the day progresses. I say this for a couple of reasons: There was no truly bad news regarding Bank of America released over the weekend, and the rest of the financials are looking much more lethargic than B of A.
Taking a look at its peers makes Bank of America look downright perky. Both Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) are down so far, perhaps because of apprehension concerning their first-quarter earnings reports due this Friday. Citigroup (NYSE: C ) is looking pallid, too. Why all the long faces?
Capital concerns, again
One thing that could be nagging at the big banks' stocks has to do with capital reserves. Just after the biggest banks strutted their healthy capital cushions -- especially B of A and Citi -- for the Fed's stress tests, some lawmakers have seen fit to lift their voices in favor of requiring even more in the way of stepped-up reserves. Not only is this a bipartisan effort, which means it may actually fly, but it affects banks with assets over $400 billion.
This means that all of the above banks would be affected, as well as Morgan Stanley (NYSE: GS ) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) . Taking a peek at their stock prices shows that they're suffering today, as well -- which makes me think this bit of discouraging news is indeed at the heart of the lackadaisical showing among the big banks today.
And that brings us back to Bank of America, which is hanging in there, giving up much less than its peers, despite heavy trading. Has the word gotten out regarding its pumped-up customer focus? Perhaps. If so, expect some sweet gains over the course of the trading day.
As the big banks face what could be a discouraging day, keep in mind that it is the overall performance of a stock that really counts. As Foolish, long-term investors, we recognize the fact that one-day changes in share price don't make or break an investment. Even stocks have good days and bad days, so it's important to realize that sometimes the moves aren't portents of dire news, but merely squiggles that we can safely ignore.
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