After days of tumbling by its share price, it's hard not to get excited about any jumps by Bank of America's (NYSE: BAC ) stock. Up 0.5% just before the closing bell, the bank came back down to Earth after an exciting first several hours of trading. So without any big news from the bank today, can investors get behind the bank's big rise this morning?
A little perspective
B of A dropped 1.53% during the first four days of trading this week. With concerns about a big legal determination looming at the end of this month, as well as new regulations on the horizon, investors have been giving the bank the cold shoulder.
If a judge decides that the arguments for a $8.5 billion settlement Bank of America reached with investors over Countrywide mortgage-backed securities are not sufficient, the bank could be on the hook for an even larger amount of money to investors. B of A has made significant progress in putting the Countrywide debacle behind it, but this legal decision and some others continue to follow it around and dissuade investors from buying into the bank.
And if legal trouble wasn't enough, new legislation is building support in Congress that would simplify the capitalization requirements of banks by dictating a 10% capital reserve across the board, with a 5% additional requirement for banks with more than $400 billion in assets. Bank of America falls into the latter category, along with the other Big Four banks. The speculation over the possibility of too-big-to-fail banks being broken up, along with the added pressure of the proposed capital reserve balances, have many bank investors concerned.
What's going on then?
So with those two big issues staring Bank of America and its investors in the face, what lifted the bank this morning? Like most days, it followed the market due to the high volume of trading it usually enjoys. And today, Mr. Market got some great news from the Labor Department. The much-anticipated non-farm payroll report showed that the slowdown of the economic recovery didn't affect the labor market as much as had been anticipated. The unemployment rate fell to 7.5%, an unexpected turn in the jobs market, bringing it down to a four-year low.
So Bank of America enjoyed a brief boost from the overall market conditions, which may be good for investors now -- but be sure to note that the opposite can happen just as quickly. As a Foolish investor, you may not have even noticed the surge this morning, since you're in it for the long haul. Good for you. Watching your stock every day can be an added stress that can have a negative impact on your investment strategies. As always, keep an eye out for the news headlines that will really matter to your investment, something that could influence the reason you invested in the business in the first place.
Even though Bank of America's stock doubled in 2012, is there more yet to come? With the bank facing strong headwinds, 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.