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Published: Friday, 7/17/2009

Bank of America posts 2Q profit, surpasses Street

CHARLOTTE Bank of America became the third big bank with better than expected earnings, reporting a $2.42 billion second-quarter profit even as losses from failed loans continued to rise.

Bank of America said Friday its earnings after payment of preferred dividends were down at 33 cents per share compared with a profit of $3.22 billion, or 72 cents per share, a year earlier. The earnings beat the forecasts of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who forecast Bank of America would earn 28 cents per share.

Revenue rose to $32.77 billion, slightly below analysts forecast of $33.1 billion.

In a statement, CEO Ken Lewis warned that continued weakness in the global economy, rising unemployment and deteriorating credit quality would affect the company for the rest of this year and next. That echoed the view taken Thursday by JPMorgan Chase & Co. executives who also reported continuing loan problems even as their company had strong second-quarter earnings.

Despite its better-than-expected results, Bank of America s shares fell nearly 3 percent in premarket trading Friday. The overall stock market appeared headed for a pullback after a huge rally this week.

Bank of America said its results also reflected a gain from selling part of its stake in China Construction Bank Corp. They also included $713 million of dividend payments tied to a federal bailout, and a charge to bolster a federal deposit insurance fund.

Bank of America, like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase, said it had a handsome profit from its trading business. The company acquired Merrill Lynch & Co. early this year.

But, like JPMorgan, it did report continuing losses from failed loans. Bank of America said it recorded a $13.4 billion provision for loan losses during the second quarter as consumers struggled with debt amid rising unemployment.

The company also said its mortgage revenue rose following its acquisition of lender Countrywide Financial Corp., reflecting the refinancing boom triggered by lower mortgage rates.

During the quarter, the government told Bank of America it needed to raise $33.9 billion in additional capital to strengthen its finances in the event of a further deterioration in the economy. By late June, the bank had raised $38 billion.

The bank has received $45 billion in bailout funds as part of the Treasury Departments $700 billion financial rescue package. It s not known when it will repay the government.



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