Bank of America Earnings Boost Dow Financials as Debt Crisis Nears End

Financial giants JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) are leading a joyful Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) skyward on rumblings that a fiscal deal is in the offing, and following a surprisingly decent earnings report from Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) .

The latest reports  out of Washington seem to warrant optimism for a last-minute debt-ceiling settlement, as House Speaker John Boehner indicates a new willingness to allow the hastily crafted Senate plan to proceed to a vote. Passing the measure would extend the debt ceiling limit until Feb. 7, and put an end to the government shutdown by providing funding until Jan. 15.

The Dow has responded with euphoria, plowing through its 133-point plunge of yesterday to its current 200-point rise by late morning.

Financials lend some heft
JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are surging, and some of the thanks may be due to former Dow compatriot Bank of America. B of A reported net income of $2.5 billion for the third quarter, despite declines in both mortgage banking and trading causing dips in revenue from a year ago in both of those sections.

On the upside, wealth management brought in 8% more than it did one year ago at $4.4 billion, and the bank's net interest margin sits at 2.44%, 12 basis points higher than the year-ago quarter. The improvement in credit quality was spectacular, netting a huge cut in expenses for the bank: a mere $296 million for credit losses in the third quarter, compared to $1.5 billion one year ago.

JPMorgan is 2.65% to the good shortly before lunchtime, despite the news that it will be forking over millions more in fines for bad behavior linked to the London Whale trading fiasco. Along with an extra $100 million -- on top of $920 million the bank has already paid out to settle charges with other regulatory agencies -- JPMorgan will also admit guilt, something the Commodity Futures Trading Commission had been holding out for.

Goldman, which reports earnings tomorrow, has seen its stock rise more than 2% so far, despite Bank of America's reported 20% drop year over year in its Fixed Income, Currency and Commodity section -- which doesn't bode well for Goldman, which gets a larger proportion of income from trading than any of its peers. So far, at least, investors don't seem bothered.

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