Bank of America stock tumbles below $5 a share

Josh Brown Dec 20, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: Well now to Bank of America, which is not looking so hot this morning. The bank’s stock tumbled below $5 a share yesterday — that’s its lowest level since March of 2009. Bank of America has been plagued by the toxic mortgages on its books, as well as a slowdown in consumer spending — but so have many other banks.

Josh Brown watches Wall Street firms for Fusion Analytics and he joins us now from New York to discuss. Good morning.

Josh Brown: Good morning.

Hobson: Well Josh, remind us why Bank of America is in such worse shape than the other banks?

Brown: You know the way you have to look at this is almost like the way you study the Civil War in grade school: there are the underlying causes that have been building up for years, and then, when you see the stock price break below $5 and it’s a spectacle, that’s a proximate cause for one day’s decline.

So if you look at the underlying issues, the first is, banking is just not a great business to be in. And now, if you can’t have leverage, if you can’t have prop trading, if you can’t make an acquisition every six months, then really, where is the growth coming from?

The second thing to consider is that regulation has been tightening. So for example, yesterday there was an item in the Financial Times that was the proximate cause of the stock sell-off, and basically, the concern was international capital requirements are going to be so tough that Bank of America‘s not even going to have any room to resume lending the way they’ve been.

Hobson: What does this say about the state of our financial system right now? Are our banks really healthy, or are they still holding all the same old stuff that they were a few years ago — and any little thing can tip them right over the edge?

Brown: No, none of them are healthy. And it’s not that they’re all on death’s door and they could be tipped over the edge — they’re sickly banks, but we already have seen the lengths to which the government will go to save them, so it would be a stretch to think that all of a sudden that support would disappear.

Hobson: Josh Brown, analyst with Fusion Analytics — thanks so much for joining us.

Brown: Thanks for having me.

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