Bank of America beats, has a historic quarter for banking

Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Monday reported third-quarter earnings that beat on the top and bottom lines.

The firm reported earnings per share of $0.41 on revenue of $21.64 billion.

Analysts were expecting adjusted earnings of $0.34 on revenue of $20.82 billion, according to Bloomberg.

“We delivered strong results this quarter by staying true to our strategy of responsible growth and focusing on the quality of the relationships with our customers and clients,” CEO Brian Moynihan said in a statement.

“Our investments in innovation, including industry-leading digital banking capabilities, continue to transform how we serve our customers.”

It was the company’s best third quarter for investment-banking fees since Bank of America’s 2009 merger with Merrill Lynch, the firm said.

Here’s the breakdown by division:

  • Total trading revenue came in at $3.60 billion ($3.25 billion expected), up 14%.
  • Fixed income, currency, and commodities revenue was $2.65 billion ($2.21 billion expected), up 39% thanks to stronger performance in credit products, especially mortgages, as well as in rates products and client financing.
  • Equities revenue came in at $954 million ($1.03 billion expected), down 17% because of lower client activity in cash and derivatives, which the firm said reflected lower market volatility.
  • Investment-banking revenue came in at $1.46 billion ($1.28 billion expected), up 13% because of higher debt and equity issuance activity but hurt somewhat by lower advisory fees.

In the same quarter last year, Bank of America beat on the bottom line but missed on the top, reporting earnings per diluted share of $0.37 ($0.33 expected) on revenue $20.68 billion ($20.73 billion expected).

In the second quarter, Bank of America had a clean beat, with earnings of $0.36 a share ($0.33 expected) on revenue of $20.6 billion ($20.4 billion expected).

JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup have already reported third-quarter earnings, each one beating expectations. Goldman Sachs will report on Tuesday.

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