Bank of America Needs Stellar 1Q for Share Price Pop

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Bank of America ( BAC) would seem to have some room for upside from Thursday's first-quarter results, judging from the share price performance of peers so far in the earnings season.

While several banks, including Wells Fargo ( WFC), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Citigroup ( C) and Goldman Sachs ( GS) have all beat analyst expectations in the first quarter, only Citigroup shares managed to gain ground as a result of the company's earnings outperformance.

Since the big banks began reporting first-quarter results ahead of Friday's open, Citigroup shares had returned 2.83% as of late Wednesday morning. The biggest underperformer has been Goldman, shares of which have lost 3.50% over that period. Wells Fargo shares, meanwhile, have lost 1.26% of their value, while Bank of America has lost 2.33%.

Year-to-date, though, Bank of America shares have surged 60%, making it the biggest percentage gainer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Citigroup's outperformance may be attributable in part to the fact that it was the poorest performer on the Federal Reserve stress tests in the middle of last month. That may have lowered investor expectations.

Analysts expect Bank of America to earn 12 cents per share on revenues of $22.5 billion. The bank has been the hardest hit by the housing crisis among giant U.S. banks and has had to set aside more than $20 billion to cover litigation and regulatory expenses related to problem mortgages.

The Dow component has been selling assets to stabilize its balance sheet and was recently reported to be shopping its wealth management businesses outside the United States.

-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.

Follow me on Twitter
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.