Bank of America posts solid earnings, beats forecasts

NEW YORK - Bank of America’s (BAC) third-quarter profits rose nearly 6 percent from a year earlier, helped by strong results in investment banking and trading, as well as lower expenses.

The consumer banking giant said Monday it earned $4.45 billion after paying dividends to preferred shareholders in the three months ending in September, up from $4.18 billion in the same period a year earlier.

The per-share figure rose to 41 cents versus 38 cents a year ago, easily beating the 34 cents per share analysts were expecting, according to FactSet.

BofA’s consumer banking division earned $1.81 billion in the quarter, up from $1.76 billion from a year earlier. While revenue was relatively flat year over year, largely due to lingering effects of near-zero interest rates, BofA was able to cut expenses from $4.711 billion in the third quarter 2015 to $4.37 billion this quarter.

Noting the ongoing Wells Fargo (WFC) sales practices scandal, Bank of America executives said they have seen no evidence of similar behavior at their bank.

“It’s not the number of products we open, it’s how they are used,” Paul Donofrio, Bank of America’s chief financial officer, said in a call with reporters.

Bank of America’s global markets division reported net income of $1.07 billion, up from $800 million a year earlier. BofA’s bond trading desks had a strong quarter, up 39 percent from a year earlier. Citigroup (C) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) had reported similar gains in bond trading last week.

Revenue rose to $21.64 billion from $20.99 billion.

BofA’s shares rose 1.2 percent, or 20cents, in premarket trading Monday morning to $16.21.

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