At its low point today, Bank of America's (NYSE:BAC) stock was down more than 1% even as the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) fell far less, and the Dow (DJINDICES:^DJI) rallied. Should B of A investors be concerned?
The comparative weakness of Bank of America today can be seen across the big financials as megabank competitors JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup (NYSE:C) are also watching their stocks fall. That could have something to do with the World Economic Forum going on in Davos, which is drawing the spotlight back to big banks -- and more specifically, the challenges and threats to the future of big global banks.
At the same time, with the announcement that Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) raised its dividend 14%, investors in B of A and Citi in particular may be wincing as they're reminded of the trouble those banks have had getting back to a state of health that would allow them to pay meaningful dividends. With submissions in for the Federal Reserve's Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR, pronounced "see-car"), those investors will likely have to wait until March to hear whether B of A or Citi gets a capital-return green light.
Looking at the other side of the picture, the primary reason the Dow is as strong as it is today is because of a single company: IBM. The mainframe-turned-tech services and software company announced impressive fourth-quarter results and its stock is booming in the wake. Because the Dow is just a 30-company index, a big push like that from a single stock can make a big difference.
Of course it won't surprise Foolish readers to hear me say that one day's stock move is almost always of near-zero importance. While those blips and twitches can be distracting, it's important that Bank of America investors step back and focus most of their attention on the big picture.
Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of Bank of America. The Motley Fool recommends Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Citigroup, International Business Machines, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.