"Life [is] like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get." So goes the famous quote from the 1994 film Forrest Gump, and it keeps rattling around my head as I look at what Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), its peers, and the market are up to today: It's a real mixed bag out there... or should I say box?
The tale of the tickers
Here's where some of America's biggest banks are shaking out about halfway through the trading day:
- B of A is up by 0.70%.
- Citigroup is barely up, only 0.05% above where it started the day.
- JPMorgan Chase is actually down on the day, by 0.27%.
- Wells Fargo is down as well, by 1.18% -- the biggest drop out of our group.
Like the big bank stocks today, the market is also a little bit of this and a little bit of that:
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down almost half a percentage point, at -0.40%.
- The Nasdaq is barely up, for gain of 0.10% so far.
- And the S&P 500 is essentially dead flat, showing a gain of 0.01%.
So, with bank stocks and the markets mixed, what -- if anything -- is driving the superbank's upward share-price movement?
Is the market rewarding B of A inefficiency?
It's always worthwhile checking the news to see if anything is breaking. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that New York State's Department of Financial Services found that four of the country's biggest banks -- including B of A -- are sitting on money owed to homeowners whose property was damaged by superstorm Sandy. In response, a B of A spokesperson essentially said the bank was moving on claims as fast as it could.
Unless the market is happy that B of A is sitting on money owed to struggling storm victims and is trying to reward that behavior (highly unlikely), the bank's 0.70% jump today can probably be attributed to nothing in particular -- just the vagaries of the market.
Sometimes, when you look at your stocks day in and day out, you really don't know what you're going to get, and that's OK. You're in this for the long term, Fools, and looking for that long -- if occasionally jagged -- upward slope of your stock price.
Feel free to check on your stocks everyday, but barring fundamental changes in the company, take whatever you see with a grain of salt -- sometimes a very large one. "Get rich slowly" is one of my favorite Motley Fool mottos, and it's one worth putting on a Post-It in plain view.