Bank of America: Financial Winner

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Bank of America ( BAC) was the winner among the largest U.S. financial names on Tuesday, with shares rising over 1% to close at $9.91.

The broad indexes ended with slight declines, after President Obama rejected the counterproposal to his initial compromise plan that was presented by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) last week. The Republican leadership of the House of Representatives is looking for larger spending cuts than the president has agreed to so far, while President Obama is insisting on tax rate increases for couples earning over $250,000 per year.

The Republican leadership in Congress would prefer to see federal revenue increase through caps on tax deductions and the closing of tax loopholes. The president's proposal also included a $50 billion economic stimulus package.

The KBW Bank Index ( I:BKX) was down 1% to close at 47.84, with all 24 index components down for the session, except for Bank of America and Citigroup ( C), which was up seven cents to close at $34.29.

Bank of America's shares have now returned 79% year-to-date, following a 58% decline during 2011. To put those two figures into perspective, the shares are down 25% since the end of 2010.

The shares trade for 0.7 times their reported Sept. 30 tangible book value of $13.48, and for 10.2 times the consensus 2013 earnings estimate of 97 cents a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2014 EPS estimate is $1.28.

The Wall Street Journal on Sunday reported that Bank of America had decided not to go ahead with a plan to begin charging monthly fees to at least 10 million checking account customers at the end of the year. With some of the company's largest competitors also planning new checking account fees, it would appear that Bank of America could finally be ahead of the trend and avoid a new set of nasty headlines.

While bank of America's shares are discounted to tangible book value in a way similar to Citigroup, the shares look much more expensive on a forward P/E basis when compared to Citi, which was trades for 7.4 times the consensus estimate of $4.64.

But the story gets a bit more interesting when taking earnings estimates out a year further. Bank of America's earnings are estimated to increase by 32% in 2014 from 2013. The shares trade for 7.7 times the consensus 2014 estimate. Citi trades for 6.8 times the consensus 2014 EPS estimate of $5.04.

Both Bank of America and Citigroup pay nominal quarterly dividends of a penny a share. Neither company has repurchased any common shares this year.

Following the next round of Federal Reserve stress tests in March, Barclays analyst Jason Goldberg expects Bank of America to raise its quarterly dividend to six cents and repurchase $3 billion worth of shares -- or 2.8% of outstanding shares -- through the first quarter of 2014.

In his Nov. 12 report, the analyst also said he expected Citigroup to raise its quarterly dividend to four cents a share following the stress tests, while gaining Fed approval to repurchase $2 billion worth of common shares, or 1.7% of shares outstanding, through the first quarter of 2014. BAC Chart BAC data by YCharts

Interested in more on Bank of America? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.


-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.