NEW YORK ( TheStreet)--Don't be surprised if Bank of America (BAC)'s legal problems once again drag down the shares when the bank reports third quarter earnings Friday, even though B of A may have nothing new to disclose.
Bank of America disclosed Sept. 28 that its $2.43 billion settlement of a class action lawsuit over its acquisition of Merrill Lynch would knock 28 cents off of third quarter earnings, but the bank's shares lost just 1.6% that day on below average volumes, and recouped the losses a day later.
"This $2.4 billion is just to me an indication that they're not reserving enough for the future litigation of the company and that is their big issue. The stock is up and people like it. They think it's a cheap way to play housing, but the company still struggles to make money because of all this litigation expense," says Paul Miller, analyst at FBR Capital Markets.
Miller believes the settlement may not have received as much attention as it warranted because "there's so many suits out there you kind of get lost of where you are with everything and this kind of came out of the blue. It didn't really garner a lot of headlines nor did it create a lot of noise in the stock."Still, that could change Wednesday as investors have so far overreacted to relatively small surprises from other big banks in the third quarter, according to Miller. He believes both the negative investor reaction Friday and Monday to slightly worse than expected net interest margin pressure from Wells Fargo (WFC), and the positive reaction Monday to what he believes are unsustainable results from Citigroup (C) were excessive. As of Monday's close, Wells Fargo shares lost 3.6% in the two days since it reported third quarter earnings. Citigroup, meanwhile, gained 5.5% Monday after beating analyst estimates in a quarter that included three major one time adjustments. Miller expects Bank of America's trading results will be strong, as was the case at Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase (WFC), while the margin pressure at Wells does not bode well for Bank of America, he argues. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Jefferson Harralson believes JPMorgan's results Friday have "a positive read-across for
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV