On Monday Bank of America (BAC) reported first quarter earnings of 62 cents a share, 3 cents a share above Wall Street estimates. Earnings were up 51% year over year on a 4% increase of revenue to $23.1 billion. That was ahead of the consensus at $23.04 billion.
Wall Street wasn’t especially impressed and the stock sold off 0.4% on Monday as the gains were largely anticipated and the revenue growth, although solid, remained stuck in low gear, The big jump in earnings came, the bank said, from gains in efficiency and further cost cutting.
On the revenue side the bank saw a 9% increase in its consumer banking business, and a 7% gain in average loans. Equity trading showed a 38% jump in revenue but fixed income trading revenue fell 13%.
As the week has progressed these results have looked better–on Tuesday–and then worse–on Wednesday–and then better again today Thursday when the shares closed ahead 2.2% at $30.18
Bank of America is a member of my Dividend Portfolio. I continue to recommend holding it in that portfolio. The current yield is just 1.6% but I think the likelihood is that the bank will get permission to raise its dividend by–I estimate–the third quarter.
Certainly these numbers argue that the business is healthy enough to support a dividend increase.