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Bank of America: Fiscal Cliff Crossed-Fingers Winner (Update 1)

"This means that 30 million additional taxpayers will become subject to the AMT on their 2012 income tax returns."

Writing for Real Money, Jim Cramer said that "we should be going down, not up," since the type of fiscal austerity that "falling off" the fiscal cliff would bring about, as not worked in Europe. The "most likely scenario" for the markets relative strength on Wednesday morning was that "the market likes the coming together that we will see after we go over the cliff with the Republicans fighting vigorously for tax cuts and winning," he said.

The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) rose slightly to close at 51.15, although 13 of the 24 index components were down in midday trading.

Bank of America

Bank of America's shares have now returned a remarkable 109% year-to-date, following a 58% decline in 2011. The shares are still down 13% from the end of 2010.

The shares trade for 0.9 times tangible book value, according to Thomson Reuter Bank Insight, and for 12 times the consensus 2013 earnings estimate of 96 cents, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2014 EPS estimate is $1.25.

As economic reports continue to provide evidence of a sustained recovery in U.S. home prices, investors' confidence increases in Bank of America's ability to work through its mortgage repurchase claims with manageable losses. The company reported that as of Sept. 30, outstanding mortgage putback claims from investors totaled $25.5 billion, more than doubling from the end of 2011.

S&P Dow Jones Indices announced on Wednesday that U.S. home prices "rose 4.3% in the 12 months ending in October," according to the S&P Case-Shiller 10- and 20-City Home Price Composite Indices, although "anticipated seasonal weakness appeared as twelve of the 20 cities and both Composites posted monthly declines in home prices in October." David M. Blitzer -- chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices -- said that "annual rates of change in home prices are a better indicator of the performance of the housing market than the month-over-month changes because home prices tend to be lower in fall and winter than in spring and summer."
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