NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Bank of America Corp. (BAC) are higher by 1.06% to $16.19 in pre-market trading on Monday, following a ratings upgrade to "buy" from "neutral" at Goldman Sachs (GS) .
The firm said it raised its rating on the financial institution based on its belief investors can now focus on "meaningful improvement" in its business, now that the company's legal issues have been resolved.
Goldman also cited an improvement in earnings, less volatility in earnings, and its expectation that Bank of America's capital return gap will narrow, as reasons for the upgrade.
Goldman upped its price target on Bank of America to $19 from $17.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates BANK OF AMERICA CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate BANK OF AMERICA CORP (BAC) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- The gross profit margin for BANK OF AMERICA CORP is currently very high, coming in at 86.47%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 9.28% trails the industry average.
- Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 12.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 5.1%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
- The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Commercial Banks industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, BANK OF AMERICA CORP underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
- Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
- BANK OF AMERICA CORP's earnings per share declined by 40.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, BANK OF AMERICA CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.91 versus $0.25 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 57.1% in earnings ($0.39 versus $0.91).
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: BAC Ratings Report
EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he and Stephanie Link think could be potentially HUGE winners. Click here to see the holdings for FREE.