If you're a shareholder in Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), then you're probably quite content as you sit back and read this. Roughly halfway through the trading session, shares in the banking behemoth are up nearly 3%, topping out at $17.22, or only 1% below the 52-week high.
What's causing Bank of America's shares to soar? As best as I can tell, there are three reasons -- though, to be clear, it's exceptionally difficult to ascertain what is causing a specific stock to move on any particular day.
To start, there's positive news in the banking space. Yesterday afternoon, it was reported that JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) is on the verge of finalizing the sale of its physical commodities unit to the Swiss trading firm Mercuria Energy Trading.
According to a report from CNBC:
To complement its existing businesses, Mercuria is expected to purchase nearly all of JPMorgan's physical assets, which include a metal storage business and oil and natural gas supply arrangements -- leaving aside only a handful of power plants in the U.S. that were already on track for separate sales before the Mercuria talks gained steam, one of the people familiar with the matter said.
While this news principally concerns JPMorgan Chase, it's generally assumed that positive developments at an industry leader reflect well on other participants. As the old adage goes, "a rising tide lifts all boats."
On top of this, BofA itself reported important news today. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank confirmed this morning that it has hired Peter Guenthardt to co-manage its Asia-Pacific global capital markets division.
While this might not seem that significant, it's important to note that Guenthardt was formerly the chief executive of UBS Investment Bank in Switzerland. He accordingly brings not only management acumen, but also presumably a massive Rolodex and considerable international banking experience that could help Bank of America in both its global markets and global banking segments.
Finally, shareholders in the nation's second largest bank by assets are just days away from learning whether BofA will be allowed to raise its dividend for the upcoming fiscal year. Analysts predict that it could double to quadruple the quarterly payout. Suffice it to say, this would be a huge catalyst for the stock going forward.