Why Bank of America Is Down for the Week

Some uninspiring dividend news probably didn't help matters.

John Grgurich
John Grgurich
May 3, 2013 at 7:39PM

At the start of the week's final day of trading, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is down 1.20% over the last five days, but if the market continues booming like it is right now, it's not out of the question that the superbank could make up its lost ground in part or even entirely.

Big Four roundup
Before we get any further into that, let's take a look at where B of A's peers and the markets have shaken out so far:

  • Citigroup is up 0.29% on the week.
  • JPMorgan Chase is down 1.7%.
  • And Wells Fargo is down 0.21%.

Contrasting this slightly mixed picture is an amazingly clear picture for the markets:

  • The S&P 500 broke 1,600 for the first time ever today, opening at 1,613.54 and currently running at 1,617.23. The broad-based indicator is up 1.76% for the week.
  • The narrower Dow Jones Industrial Average is currently at a big 14,995.55, and is up 1.76% for the week.
  • No slacker, the Nasdaq Composite is up 2.83% for the week, and is currently running at 3,384.32.

Foolish bottom line
The market is booming today on positive jobs data. This morning, the Department of Labor reported that the U.S. created 165,000 jobs in April, bringing the unemployment rate down from 7.6% to 7.5%.  

This was unexpected good news. It was only two days ago that payroll-processing giant ADP reported weak numbers for April, with 119,000 private-sector jobs added. With this new round of good news from the Labor Department, expect the big Wall Street rally to continue today, and for all the big banks to benefit.

So why the down week overall? The Big Four have been up and down since the B of A released its first-quarter earnings two and a half weeks ago, with the superbank missing analyst expectations for earnings by $0.02, even though it was overall a very good quarter. This cycle of big positive and negative swings is still in force.

As for B of A in particular, it announced its quarterly dividend on Wednesday: $0.01 per share, the same dividend it's been paying for years now. This may have depressed shareholders a bit, though I looked at it as a smart move by the bank: Conserving capital will make B of A healthier in the long run, which is the kind of thinking the superbank needs.

The most likely culprit for B of A's poor week is the invisible hand of the market doing what it does best: lifting stocks up one day -- or one week, as the case may be -- and slapping them down the next. Here at The Motley Fool, we tell investors to tune out the short-term noise of the market and tune in to the long term. That's where your investing thesis is going to show itself to be true or false.

Check in once a month, or even once a quarter, on the fundamentals of the companies you're invested in and leave the obsessive ticker checking to the day traders. You'll be happier in the long run, not least because you won't be sweating out the short-term market swings that are an inevitable part of investing. 

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