Buckle up, Fools. The last few weeks have been a real roller coaster ride not just for Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) but for its big-four brethren, too. And if the start of the day's trading is any indication, it looks like the ride is going to continue.
Here's a look at where B of A and its peers are shaking out as the market opens:
- B of A is already down 1.54%.
- Citigroup (NYSE: C ) is down 1.80%.
- JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) is down 1.84%.
- Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) is down 0.75%.
Long-term thinking, knee-jerk reaction?
Two weeks ago today, B of A released its first-quarter earnings. To the surprise of many, including this B of A bear, earnings were overall good and contained some real highlights: like revenue growth of 5% year over year, while banks like JPMorgan and Wells Fargo reported year-over-year revenue declines. Everyone likes net-income growth, but when it comes solely from cost-cutting, it's not sustainable.
Yet B of A missed analyst expectations for earnings-per-share by $0.02, which sent B of A and the rest of the big four into a tailspin. They all recovered eventually, but it's been a bumpy, up-one-day-down-the-next kind of ride. Today it looks like the bump will be down, and it will be a big one.
Is there anything else going on with B of A that might be sending its share price down? The superbank did announce its quarterly dividend yesterday, of $0.01 per share: the same dividend the bank's been paying for years now. Maybe investors feel insulted and are driving the share price down today as a result. If they do, perhaps they should feel buoyed instead.
Rather than increasing the quarterly dividend, which always curries favor with investors, B of A is holding onto that capital and therefore strengthening its balance sheet. Citi CEO Michael Corbat pulled a similar move recently for his bank in the wake of a strong 2013 stress-test performance, and it's one I applaud him for.
Of course, B of A's downward path today may be nothing more than the normal short-term gyrations that are a part of any market's short-term operation. Just keep your eye on the long term, Fools, and you'll come out ahead in the end.
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Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Bank of America had raised its dividend. The Fool regrets the error.