Bank of America: Financial Winners & Losers

Bank of America shares fell after an analyst argued that the bank should think about breaking apart
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

was among the decliners of Friday's session after an analyst argued that the bank should "seriously think about breaking apart."

Bank of America

was down 0.2% after Rochdale Securities analyst Dick Bove said the break-up value of Bank of America is estimated here to be $53 per share, which is three times the current stock price. On Wednesday, Bove made a similar claim about

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

, calculating the break-up value of the company at nearly $102 per share.

"It is more likely that a series of smaller companies would outperform the conglomerate in every respect," Bove wrote of Bank of America in a research note late Thursday. "They would have more focused management teams and, in some cases, far more attractive secular outlooks than the parent."

Bank of America was lately down 5 cents, or 0.2%, to $18.60.

Meanwhile, a report Friday said major U.S. banks masked their risk levels over the past five quarters by temporarily lowering their debt just before reporting it to the public.

Citing data from the

Federal Reserve

Bank of New York,

The Wall Street Journal

reported that a group of 18

banks understated the debt levels

used to fund securities trades by lowering them an average of 42% at the end of each of the past five quarterly periods.

The group of banks included

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

,

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

. The banks then boosted the debt levels in the middle of successive quarters, the report said.

Among bank stocks trading higher, Citigroup added 2% to $4.56, Morgan Stanley rose 0.3% to $30.98, and JPMorgan tacked on 0.3% to $45.90. On the downside, Goldman Sachs dipped 0.1% to $179.29.

Elsewhere,

Ambac Financial

(ABK)

reported fourth-quarter net income of $558.1 million, or $1.93 a share, which swung from a year-ago loss of $2.34 billion, or $8.14 a share. Results included a $472 million tax benefit, Ambac said. Ambac shares surged 65.2% to $1.06.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston

.

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