Wall Street has been waiting around on a rally like Linus waiting around for the Great Pumpkin. But the rally refuses to show, just like the Great Pumpkin. Nine straight quarters of double-digit growth have not been enough to counter high energy prices, terror fears, and the Federal Reserve's rate hikes. However, have faith the Great Pumpkin will eventually come; maybe Friday was the preview. Until he arrives for sure, there are still a couple of treats this Halloween season. So far, these two stocks have tricked the market. That is about to change.
The Great Pumpkin
When the Great Pumpkin shows up, Bank of America ( BAC) will be there. Bank of America has made two significant acquisitions in the last couple of years. It bought Fleet Boston last year to increase its presence in the Northeast. Through that acquisition it now has a true nationwide presence with the largest banking network and 5900 banking centers. This year it agreed to buy MBNA to increase its presence in the consumer credit card market. The stock took a hit last year with the announcement of the purchase of Fleet Boston, and it has taken a hit this year in the wake of the MBNA deal. The flattening yield curve has also hurt financial stocks, and in case you hadn't noticed, the market stinks (Friday's big rally notwithstanding). Bank of America is deposit rich; it needed to put some of that money to use, just like a factory operating at only 50% capacity needs to find a way to use its idle capacity. Buying a credit card company allows it to use money that was just lying there doing nothing. Bank of America stock has been dead money for the last year, and is near its 52-week low after closing at $43.98 on Friday. The bank has a trailing price-to-earnings multiple of around 10. If you put a more traditional bank-stock multiple of 12, you get a $53 price target based on next year's consensus estimate of $4.42 per share.