3. Bank of America
Shares of Bank of America (BAC) was among the top Dow performers in the first quarter, rising 71%.
Since the end of the first quarter, the stock has shed 25%. Year-to-date, it is still up by about 28%.Bank of America has had a much-needed reprieve from negative headlines this year. Concerns about capital adequacy, which raged throughout last year have abated significantly after the bank easily passed the Fed's annual stress test. The bank learned from its earlier lessons, wisely choosing not to request the regulator to allow it to return more capital. That saved it the embarrassment of being rejected, a fate suffered by rival Citigroup (C).. Unlike last year, most of the negative headlines in recent months have revolved around its peers Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Still, analysts are worried about its ability to generate earnings that justify its valuation, given low interest rates, higher expenses and continuing legacy mortgage issues and legal costs. "Until the company can show progress in substantially reducing its operating expenses we believe the consensus EPS expectations remain too high," Stifel Nicolaus analyst Chris Mutascio wrote in a recent report. "Our 2013 EPS estimate of $0.85 remains well below the consensus estimate of $1.04. That gap has to narrow before we take a more constructive view on the shares." Analysts remain skeptical of the company's prospects with only 7 rating it a buy, while 22 have a neutral rating on the stock and two analysts have a sell rating.
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