Considering investors appear to have heightened expectations for banks, what should you expect when Bank of America reports earnings on Friday?
It's hard to ignore the fact that shares of BofA sold off Thursday, ahead of results, with investors apparently growing concerned that earnings might not be as dazzling as needed to move shares higher.
Negative sentiment seems to have picked up steam after rivals Goldman and Citigroup were unable to satisfy the Street with their numbers – though both banks produced great results.
"The blowout number that JPMorgan had Wednesday ... raised expectations," explains Peter Jankovskis of Oakbrook Investments. And now good earnings just aren’t good enough. They need to be great.
To make the situation even more fragile, on Thursday Bank of America said more customers fell behind on payments and Credit Suisse forecast losses will mount for at least another year.
All that sounds rather bearish. But there's optimism too.
On the bullish side of things, Wells Fargo recently upgraded BofA to Outperform from Market Perform, with a target range of $24-$27 saying BofA trades "at a deep discount to peers."
And on Fast Money’s Halftime Report Eugene Profit of Profit Funds expressed optimism that results generated by the Merrill Lynch unit could wow the crowds.
But remember Merrill isn't as active in the fixed income markets as Goldman or JPMorgan are, says Paul Miller of FBR Capital Markets. And that's what generated their gains.
All things considered, what’s the trade?
I don’t know if there’s a lot more gas in this stock no matter what they report, says Paul Miller, FBR Capital Markets. I expect BofA will trade flat for the time being.
I agree with Paul, concurs Pete Najarian. It seems like the gas is coming out of the tank.
BofA has more exposure to the consumer that almost any other bank, adds Tim Seymour. I’m cautiuous.
I’d take the other side of that trade, counters JoeTerranova. I think BofA goes to $20 before it comes down.
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Trader disclosure: On October 15, 2009, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Adami Owns (AGU), (BTU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT): Terranova Owns (SUN), (OIH), (HOC), (HES), (GOOG), (IUYG), (OHI), (FTO): Terranova Is Short (GRMN), (CCL): Najarian Owns (BX) Calls; Najarian Owns (DELL) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (GE) Calls; Najarian Owns (GOOG) Nov. Calls, Is Short (GOOG) Oct. Calls; Najarian Owns (HMY) Calls; Najarian Owns (IBM) Nov. Calls, Is Short (IBM) Oct. Calls; Najarian Owns (LAZ), Is Long (LAZ) Puts, Is Short (LAZ) Calls; Najarian Owns (MYL) Calls; Najarian Owns (RIMM) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (STX) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (TEVA); Najarian Owns (YHOO) Call Spread
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