Bank of America Earnings May Jump 20% With a Rate Hike, Deutsche Bank Says

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Banks are becoming impatient for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates and Bank of America (BAC) may be better positioned than its competitors when the central bank makes its move, according to a recent report from Deutsche Bank.

While Deutsche Bank has issued buy ratings on Bank of America, Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM), of the four, however, Bank of America represents the "purest play on US growth/rates among peers," said an analyst with Deutsche Bank, Matt O'Connor. Deutsche Bank issued a $19 price target for Bank of America's stock. The stock traded at $16.43 at about 3:17 p.m. EDT, representing a decline of about 8% for the year.

By Deutsche Bank's measure, a 1% increase in both short- and long-term rates would lead to a 20% increase in Bank of America's 2015 earnings. Deutsche Bank also believes that a 0.35% increase in the 10-year rate since the first quarter will create a $400 million to $700 million gain for Bank of America in the second quarter. In the same period of last year, Bank of America posted earnings from continuing operations of $2.29 billion.

This uptick in rates alone is expected to add 0.09 to 0.16 percentage points to the bank's net interest margin, which was 2.49% last year. The gauge, an industry standard for evaluating performance, compares the difference between the interest banks charged on loans and what they pay on deposits to the average of their income-producing investments.

And there may be more to a favorable outlook for Bank of America than just an interest-rate increase.

"Bank of America will get a double-kick from a rate hike," said Nancy Bush of NAB Research. Bush reiterated statements she made following Bank of America's first-quarter earnings call in April.

The "double-kick" is a result of economic conditions improving to a point that the Fed feels comfortable raising rates. According to the April jobs report, unemployment stands at 5.4%, which is better than the Fed's target of 6.5%. Inflation, meanwhile, lags the Fed's stated 2% target.

In Bush's view, the bank will benefit from more branch activity due to better economic conditions as well as an increase in net interest margins from higher rates.

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