With home prices continuing to rise and with so much progress being made working through nonperforming mortgage loans, Bank of America expects its annual Legacy Asset Servicing (LAS) expenses
to decline by $7.2 billion
through the end of 2015, from second-quarter levels.
Because of the expected normalization of Bank of America's earnings, analysts polled by
on average expect to see the company's earnings grow from a consensus estimate of 92 cents a share this year, to $1.38 in 2014 and to $1.62 in 2015.
The consensus estimates don't show anywhere near that sort of earnings growth potential for the rest of the "big four" U.S. banks, which also include Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and
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Based on 2014 earnings estimates, it would seem that Bank of America's expected earnings improvement is "baked-in." At Wednesday's market close, the shares traded for 10.5 times the consensus 2014 EPS estimate of $1.36. Shares of Wells Fargo -- the strongest earnings performer among the "big four in the aftermath of the credit crisis -- closed at $41.50 Wednesday and traded for 10.3 times the consensus 2014 EPS estimate of $4.02.
Shares of Citigroup closed at $49.60 Wednesday and traded for 9.1 times the consensus 2014 EPS estimate of $5.46. The cheapest name among the "big four" is JPMorgan, with shares trading for just 8.5 times the consensus 2014 EPS estimate of $6.11, when they closed Wednesday at $51.87.
There's no question that investors are applauding Brian Moynihan for a job well done, and after expenses are finally normalized, Bank of America can once again focus on growing its business.
Interested in more on Bank of America? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.
-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.