Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings Wednesday as revenues from its investment banking business, as well as a modest increase in net interest income, drove bottom line gains.
Bank of America said earnings for the three months ending in September came in at 51 cents per share, down 24% from the same period last year but 5 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Bank of America said, were modestly higher than last year at $22.8 billion once interest expenses were stripped out, a tall that largely matched analysts' forecasts.
Net interest income, a key measure of bank profitability, rose just over 1% to $12.187 billion, the bank said, while revenues from its equities division rose 13% to $1.1 billion. Investment banking fees, Bank of America said, rose 27% to $1.5 billion. Consumer banking revenues, by far the larger portion of the lender's top line, rose 3% to $9.7 billion.
"Our teammates delivered another strong quarter of earnings and returns for shareholders. In a moderately growing economy, we focused on driving those things that are controllable," said CEO Brian Moynihan. "We made continued strong investments in our capabilities to serve customers, more relationship management teammates, more and refurbished branches and offices, and more digital capabilities, all while core expenses are flat."
"Our client activity, the expansion of our client base, and our ability to gain market share across most of our businesses in the quarter, all reflect responsible growth," he added.
Bank of America shares were marked 2.72% higher following the earnings release to trade at $30.55 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain to around 23.6%.
Bank of America shares were further supported by news late Tuesday that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A - Get Report) is seeking permission from the U.S. Federal Reserve to increase its stake in the bank to more than 10%.
"Berkshire routinely assesses market conditions and may decide to purchase additional shares of common stock of Bank of America based on its evaluation of the investment opportunity presented by such purchases," it told the Fed Tuesday. ""Berkshire anticipates that any such purchases would be on the open market at prevailing market prices."