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Bank of America Shares Top $10 First Time Since August

Bank of America Shares Top $10 Level
A pedestrian stops to use a Bank of America Corp. automated teller machine (ATM) in San Francisco on March 14, 2012. The firm has surged about 81 percent this year amid signs that the U.S. economy is gaining strength, easing potential future loan losses. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp., the second-biggest U.S. lender by assets, topped $10 in New York trading for the first time since August amid a rally that began after the firm passed the Federal Reserve stress test.

Bank of America rose 2.5 percent to $10.04 at 12:06 p.m. in New York. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm has advanced about 18 percent since the Fed said March 13 that all but four of the 19 largest U.S. banks could withstand a severe recession.

Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan didn’t ask for permission to raise the 1-cent dividend, thus preserving the minimum capital needed to meet Fed targets for a hypothetical crisis. Citigroup Inc. CEO Vikram Pandit’s request for increased payouts made his firm the biggest lender to fail the test.

Moynihan, 52, sold $33 billion in assets last year to boost capital levels. The bank’s financial strength improved in the fourth quarter as Tier 1 common equity, a measure of its ability to absorb losses, rose to 9.86 percent from 8.65 percent in the previous three-month period.

The firm has surged about 81 percent this year amid signs that the U.S. economy is gaining strength, easing potential future loan losses. Bank of America declined 58 percent last year over concern that rising mortgage expenses and the European debt crisis would weigh on results.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugh Son in New York at hson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Green at rgreen18@bloomberg.net

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