Updated from 8:27 a.m. EDT
Bank of America
, the nation's third-largest bank, reported a 75% rise in first quarter profits, helped by its acquisition last year of
In the quarter, the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank earned $4.7 billion, or $1.14 a share, up from $2.68 billion, or 91 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Total revenue was $14 billion, up 47% from a year ago.
The bank's earnings and revenue both came in higher than analysts' expectations, an event that helped stabilize the market Monday after Friday's rout. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had predicted the bank would earn 97 cents a share, and generate revenues of $13.8 billion.
In early morning trading, shares of BofA rose 36 cents to $44.64. The bank's better-than-expected earnings pushed the
Philadelphia KBW Bank Index
up 1%, even as the
traded modestly lower.
First-quarter earnings included a $112 million restructuring charge from the merger with Fleet, which reduced earnings by 2 cents a share. The merger with Fleet was completed on April 1, 2004, so last year's first quarter earnings did not include any of Fleet's operations.
Besides the Fleet acquisition, earnings also were aided by a few one-time events, such as gains on the sale of securities and a lower provision for loan and credit losses. In the quarter, the bank recorded $659 million in securities gains, up from $495 million a year ago. The bank reduced its provision for credit losses to $580 million, down from $706 million in the fourth quarter of 2004.
Piper Jaffray bank analyst Andrew Collins, in a research note, estimated that BofA's earnings would have equaled $1 a share in the quarter without those items. Collins said that was still a "very respectable" figure.
Net income in the bank's global consumer and small-business group nearly doubled to $1.9 billion. A similar thing happened in the bank's global business group, which reported $1.12 billion in net income, up from $582 million.
Profits in the bank's investment bank also rose, but by a more modest amount. In the quarter, net income totaled $721 million, up from $453 million a year ago. The bank feasted on big gains in proprietary trading activity. Trading-related revenue was $1.1 billion, up from $844 million.
"This quarter shows our balanced business mix is paying off,'' said BofA Chairman and CEO Kenneth Lewis, in a prepared statement.
In a conference call with analysts, BofA Chief Financial Officer Marc Oken said despite the better-than-expected first-quarter performance, the bank was sticking with its early guidance and predicting modest earnings gains for the remainder of the year.