Bank of America's shares fall after quarterly revenue misses expectations

Key Points
  • Bank of America reports adjusted earnings per share of 47 cents, versus expectations of 44 cents from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. However, adjusted revenue of $21.4 billion falls short of expectations of $21.531 billion.
  • The bank reports a $2.9 billion charge related to the new tax law and a drop in fixed-income trading revenues.
  • Net interest income rises 11 percent, helped by higher interest rates and loan and deposit growth.
Bank of America posts earnings beat

Bank of America reported better-than-expected adjusted fourth quarter earnings Wednesday after a jump in loan growth offset a drop in fixed-income trading. Shares fell though as investors focused on quarterly revenue which fell slightly short of expectations.

The bank also posted a charge of $2.9 billion related to the new tax law.

Excluding the tax bill-related items, the bank reported:

  • Adjusted earnings per share of 47 cents, versus expectations of 44 cents from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
  • Adjusted revenue of $21.4 billion, versus expectations of $21.531 billion.

Bank of America shares are up nearly 36 percent over the last 12 months. The stock declined 2.4 percent on Wednesday.

"We gained market share across our businesses while carefully managing credit, risk exposures, and expenses," CEO Brian Moynihan said in a statement. "We invested in technology, client engagement, and in our own team, including the $1,000 bonus we announced last month for 145,000 employees."

Brian Moynihan, Bank of America
Christopher Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Moynihan had announced the bonus in late December, citing the tax bill that President Donald Trump signed cutting the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.

CFO Paul M. Donofrio added Wednesday on a call with media that the bank expects its effective tax rate for 2018 to fall to 20 percent from 29 percent.

Bank of America's net interest income rose 11 percent to $11.5 billion in the fourth quarter, helped by higher interest rates and loan and deposit growth. The bank said on a conference call Wednesday it expects "solid" growth in net interest income this year.

Net charge-offs in the fourth quarter rose to $1.2 billion, "primarily driven by a single-name non-U.S. commercial charge-off totaling $292 million," according to the earnings statement.

J.P. Morgan Chase said Friday it lost $143 million in the fourth quarter on a margin loan to a single client and said it was likely other financial firms had exposure to the client. The bank did not name the client, but said it was related to struggling South African retailer Steinhoff International. During a call with media Wednesday, Bank of America executives declined to comment on specific client information.

"Client activity was strong across all of our businesses in 2017," Donofrio said. "Our balance sheet remains strong and we believe we are well positioned for growth."

Analysts were watching for the impact of low volatility and the new tax legislation on the bank's fourth quarter results.

The bank reported fixed income trading revenues fell 13 percent in the quarter, excluding net debit valuation adjustment. Revenue from equities trading was unchanged.

Bank of America said in a Dec. 22 filing it expects a $3 billion hit to fourth quarter results as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. And in early December, Moynihan said trading revenues were tracking for a 15 percent decline in the fourth quarter from the same period last year.

In its earnings statement, J.P. Morgan Chase reported a 34 percent drop in fixed income markets trading revenue in the fourth quarter. Earnings per share and revenue both beat expectations.

Wells Fargo on Friday reported an earnings beat, helped by the new tax law. But the bank's quarterly revenue missed expectations.

Most banks have reported a fourth quarter-hit from the new tax legislation. J.P. Morgan announced a $2.4 billion charge. On Tuesday, Citigroup posted a one-time, noncash charge of about $22 billion for the fourth quarter due to the new tax law. Excluding that charge, the bank reported better-than-expected earnings per share, helped by growth in consumer banking.

Goldman Sachs on Wednesday reported a $4.4 billion tax-related charge, which resulted in a net quarterly loss. Excluding the charge, the investment banking giant posted better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings, but revenue from fixed income markets trading plunged 50 percent.

Morgan Stanley is set to post results Thursday.

— Reuters contributed to this report.