While the market is up less than 0.5%, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) has been up as much as 2.2% in early trading this morning and is currently up just over 1%. With little news out of the bank itself, the bank's move could be driven by indications from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that the central bank will be maintaining its current stimulus efforts.
Other banks buoyed by testimony
Bernanke is testifying in front of Congress today, indicating that it is still too soon to end the Fed's current stimulus programs. In addition to Bank of America, the rest of the banking sector seems to be reacting favorably to the news:
- Citigroup is up 1.06%, and is up 15.3% over the past 30 days.
- JPMorgan Chase is up 2.32%, maintaining its momentum from yesterday.
- Wells Fargo is currently up 0.29%, also continuing its positive movement from yesterday.
- The KBW Bank Index (DJINDICES: ^BKX), a broader measure of banks in the market, is up 0.88%.
More than just the testimony
Because of its strong presence in the mortgage industry, Bank of America could also be boosted slightly this morning on news from the National Association of Realtorsthat existing home sales are at their highest levels since November 2009. With 4.97 million homes sold -- a 9.7% increase over last April -- the housing market has almost returned to a healthy balance of supply and demand, and continuing gains could be helped by the Fed maintaining low interest rates.
Bank of America also announced yesterdayit had provided assistance to about 366,000 customers as part of the National Mortgage Settlement, totaling $29.2 billion in aggregate relief since the settlement was reached in March 2012. The bank further stated that it will continue to work with borrowers even after its settlement obligation is met, which should help even more eligible customers meet their mortgage obligations. This should further help clean up some of the problem mortgages that have been plaguing the bank for some time.