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Bank of America 4Q earnings jump nearly five-fold

NEW YORK (AP) -- Bank of America Corp. says its fourth-quarter profit jumped from a year earlier, as the loans on the bank's balance sheet continued to improve.

The nation's second-largest bank says it earned $3.44 billion in the October to December period, up from $732 million a year earlier. On a per-share basis, the bank made 29 cents, beating the 27 cents expected by financial analysts.

Profits got a big boost because Bank of America was able to significantly reduce the amount of money it holds on its balance sheet to protect itself from bad loans.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose to $22.32 billion from $19.6 billion, exceeding analysts' forecasts of $21.2 billion.

Bank of America was up 2 percent in pre-market trading.

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