After the impressive performance of Bank of America's (BAC 5.94%) stock last year -- it was the top-performing component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.98%) -- it'd be tempting to conclude that the nation's second-largest lender didn't have much juice left in the proverbial tank. But according to a number of high-profile analysts, that simply isn't the case.
Roughly halfway through today's trading session, shares of Bank of America are higher by nearly 1.5%. This comes, moreover, on the heels of an impressive performance yesterday, when its shares were up by 1.3%.
There's no question that a growing number of analysts are becoming bullish on Bank of America stock. In the middle of last month, Meredith Whitney -- who famously foretold Citigroup's fall five years ago -- reiterated her view that Bank of America was one of the most undervalued bank stocks in the market. "Very rarely do these big banks have both value catalysts and momentum," Whitney noted. "Bank of America had all of that."
Since making her original call at the end of last year, Whitney's opinion has been vindicated, as the Charlotte, N.C.-based lender's shares are up roughly 15%.
How much further could they go?
For a moment last week, it appeared as if the Bank of America bandwagon may have gotten derailed (excuse the mixed metaphors). After reporting first-quarter earnings on April 17, its stock plunged by upwards of 7% over the next two days. Investors were clearly discontented that the bank missed analyst estimates for earnings per share by $0.02 -- coming in at $0.20 per share vs. an expected $0.22.
But since then, the market has warmed up to the results -- and particularly the bank's announcement that it settled three massive class action lawsuits dating back to the financial crisis. With today's gains, Bank of America stock is getting back within striking distance of its 52-week high. And if Whitney's predictions hold true, it could be headed to $15 in the near term and $20 long term.