Unless something completely unforeseen happens -- which, of course, is always possible -- the focus of bank investors will be all earnings all the time over the next few weeks. The nation's first and fourth largest banks by assets kick things off this Friday, when JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo report their results from the first three months of the year. Bank of America and Citigroup follow suit next week.

Bank investors got their first glimpse of what first-quarter earnings might look like today when Commerce Bancshares reported its results. Shares of the Kansas City-based bank are trading sharply lower after its earnings per share fell by 4.3% on a year-over-year basis.

The culprit for the fall in profit was interest rates. As Commerce's prepared remarks noted, "Low interest rates, affecting both loans and investments, coupled with a decline in interest on our inflation-protected government securities of $4.8 million, resulted in a decline in net interest income of $10.9 million from the previous quarter."


Alternatively, the good news was that noninterest income grew on a number of fronts. Among others, bank card transaction fees increased 11%, and trust fees were up 10%. Both bode well for the larger banks -- and particularly Bank of America -- which have sizable debit and credit card operations and wealth management divisions. Though, it's worth noting, Commerce isn't necessarily representative of larger money center banks that also look to volatile trading operations for a significant portion of revenue.

In other news, CEOs of the nation's largest banks are meeting with President Obama this evening for a regularly scheduled quarterly get-together of financial leaders. As Erik Schatzker of Bloomberg noted, the timing is particularly auspicious given the expectation that these lenders earned record profits in the first three months of 2013. It's predicted, for instance, that the six largest banks in the country earned more than $20 billion over this time period.

Bank of America's stock doubled in 2012. Is there more yet to come? With significant challenges still ahead, it's critical to have a solid understanding of this megabank before adding it to your portfolio. In The Motley Fool's premium research report on B of A, analysts Anand Chokkavelu, CFA, and Matt Koppenheffer, Financials bureau chief, lift the veil on the bank's operations, including detailing three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Click here now to claim your copy.

The article Bank of America Stock Lower as Bank Earnings Approach originally appeared on Fool.com.

John Maxfield owns shares of Bank of America. The Motley Fool recommends Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

What are Penny Stocks

The lucrative and dangerous world of penny stocks.

View Course »

Small Cap Investing

Learn now to invest in small companies the right way.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum