Why Bank of America Is Trading Down Today

After opening up 0.41%, Bank of America is already trading down 0.38% an hour and a half after the opening bell. Excepting Wells Fargo, each of its Big Four peers is suffering the same fate, as are all three major indices -- so far at least decisively spiking the market's two-day rally.

Chalk up nearly everyone's bad day to nervousness over Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's looming speech to the markets, scheduled for later today.

The fate of the Bernanke-put
The Federal Open Market Committee is the Federal Reserve's policy-setting body, which began its two-day meeting yesterday. Up for debate is the fate of quantitative easing, or QE: the Fed's massive monthly bond-purchase program.


Bernanke has said he will begin tapering the purchases off as the economy improves, which it clearly has been since QE's inception. Investors worry this economic recovery will falter if QE is tapered back.

Also on the minds of B of A investors in particular is the trial currently under way between the superbank, AIG , Bank of New York Mellon, BlackRock , PIMCO, and other big investors. Or should I say was under way. The case has actually been suspended mid-trial because of scheduling conflicts on the part of presiding judge Barbara Kapnick.

The case revolves around a previously agreed-upon settlement for $8.5 billion over bad mortgage-backed securities issued by its Countrywide Financial unit. If the settlement isn't upheld, B of A could be on the hook for tens of billions more.

Foolish bottom line
Analysts are mixed on which way they think Bernanke will go, but remember this: Even if he announces a rollback of QE, it's going to be tapered. The money spigot won't be instantly turned off.

And while the markets may react in knee-jerk fashion if he does announce the taper, chances are, once investors see that it's going to be a slow and gradual process, they will likely calm down. QE has to come to an end sometime; the central bank can't keep expanding its balance sheet by $85 billion per month forever. But I think the recovery has serious enough legs to stand at least partially on its own right now, and that's all the Fed would be asking of it.

As for the suspended trial, there's nothing investors can do about it but wait and see, no matter who's side you're on. Regarding today's stock performance, that's likely not even on investors' minds. It's all about the fate of the Bernanke-put right now.

All of this market noise is even more reason to focus on the fundamentals of the companies you're invested in. Take the long-term view of investing, and leave the daily ticker-checks to the day traders. If your investing thesis for B of A, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, or any other company you're invested in remains sound, and the numbers still look good, stick with it no matter what Ben Bernanke says. In the end, your portfolio will thank you, even if your broker won't. 

Looking for in-depth analysis on Bank of America?
Look no further than this Motley Fool premium report -- written by top Motley Fool banking analysts Anand Chokkavelu and Matt Koppenheffer. They'll help you lift the veil on the bank's operations, and give you three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell along the way. And with included quarterly updates, this could literally be the last bit of investment research on B of A you'll ever need. For immediate access, simply click here now

The article Why Bank of America Is Trading Down Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor John Grgurich owns shares of Citigroup Follow John's dispatches from the not-so-muddy trenches of big-banking and high-finance on Twitter @TMFGrgurich . The Motley Fool recommends American International Group, Bank of America, BlackRock, and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of American International Group, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo and has the following options: Long Jan 2014 $25 Calls on American International Group. 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 scintillating 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 »

Basics Of The Stock Market

Stock Market 101 - everything you need to know but were afraid to ask!

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum