The close of trading last week left Bank of America's (NYSE: BAC ) stock in a spectacular position, not far from its 52-week high of $13.55 as it ended Friday with a price of $13.43.
In fact, the entire banking sector was in the green, and in a big way. The KBW Bank Index (DJINDICES: ^BKX ) ended up with a remarkable 4.4% gain from its open on Monday, as did B of A with a 3.4% rise. The other big banks did swimmingly, as well: Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) rose 4.6% during the week, Citigroup (NYSE: C ) floated upward by 5.7%, and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) saw an increase of 6.6% -- especially startling considering the hot water that CEO Jamie Dimon has found himself in lately.
Oodles of good news for the nation's biggest banks
What sent financial stocks soaring? Much good news found its way into the media toward the end of the week, giving the whole sector a much-needed lift, and every joyful report featured Bank of America.
An especially juicy tidbit came in the form of new regulations from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which wound up much lighter than what the big banks had feared when it first announced it would be tightening the rules on derivative trades. Instead of having to offer their swap trades to many other parties, they will only have to present them to two others -- making the banks' lives much easier.
In other news, Johnson Associates, a firm which studies compensation trends, reported on Friday that bonuses for bankers will increase between 5% and 20% this year, with retail bank chiefs getting the least, and investment bankers getting the most. With all of the pies that B of A and its peers have their figurative fingers in, it's a sure bet that their compensation will increase by more than the minimum.
Lastly, Bank of America and Wells had some welcome news from the New York Attorney General's office, which has suspended its filing of a suit accusing the two of violating the terms of the National Mortgage Settlement. With such a passel of last-minute goodies being tossed at B of A at the close of business last week, I expect investors to show it some very positive attention throughout the day.
Will Bank of America be able to maintain its momentum well into the new week? Whether it does or not, 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 they're not portents of dire news, but merely squiggles that we can safely ignore.
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