Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is not only up big today, but has been on a steady upward climb since last Thursday -- which leaves us with not one but two financial institutions to thank.

The tale of the tickers
But before we get into that, here's a quick overview of where B of A, its peers, and the market overall is shaking out so far today:

  • B of A is up 1.15% on the day and 6.06% since last Thursday.
  • Citigroup is up 1.38%.
  • JPMorgan Chase is up 0.27%.
  • Finally, Wells Fargo is up 0.16%.

The market is in the green all around: with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.37%, the S&P 500 up 0.54%, and the Nasdaq up 0.51%.

Thank you Ben and Brian
After not doing much at all last Thursday, B of A began its climb up, up, and away last Friday. Why the lag and leap? If you've been following B of A, the banking sector, or just the general news at all over the last week, you already know the answer: the Federal Reserve's stress tests.

The 2013 Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, known informally as stress tests, put 18 of the country's largest financial institutions through a simulated, severe economic downturn to see how they would perform from a capital-reserves perspective, and B of A did well -- well enough for the Fed to approve a $5 billion share-buyback program. And investors always love share buybacks.

So we have Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to thank for approving B of A's capital-return plan, but we also have B of A management to thank.

B of A came out of the financial crisis hurting badly, and Brian Moynihan and his team deserve credit for beginning to fill in the massive hole their predecessors dug the bank into. Basically, if B of A wasn't in better capital health, it certainly wouldn't have performed as well as it did on the CCAR. So thank you both, Ben and Brian.

But always remember, Foolish investors, that you're in this for the long term. Your favorite stocks, in the short term, will always rise and fall -- sometimes precipitously. But so long as the companies behind them have sound fundamentals, don't worry: Your money is in the right place.