Bank of America's surging stock has cooled in the past few weeks -- and its rapid growth may now have come to an end, analysts with investment firm Stifel Nicolaus say in a research note today.
The Charlotte bank started the year on a torrid pace. After finishing 2011 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performer, the bank quickly became the index's leader and had grown nearly 50 percent for the year.
While the bank's stock is still up more than 40 percent on the year, it's been relatively flat over the past month. On Monday afternoon, the stock was at $7.97, the same price it closed at Feb. 6.
The Stifel Nicolaus analysts note that the stock has stagnated since breaking $8 a share in early February. They attributed the early-year rise to a calm in investor fears that the bank would have to issue more stock to raise capital.
They say the bank's future stock price will be driven by earnings power, which the bank has struggled with in the past few quarters. While it reported profitability in 2011 and in the fourth quarter, the figures were clouded by a number of one-time gains and losses.
"With capital levels seemingly no longer the primary issue, we think it will be harder for the shares to outperform in the face of what we believe are lower earnings expectations that are forthcoming," the analysts wrote.