Bank of America’s net income in the third quarter nearly tripled last year's, hitting $4.24 billion, or 44 cents a share, the company announced today, a figure that surpassed even the loftiest analyst expectations. The drastic turnaround will likely take pressure off embattled CEO Ken Lewis, who’s been raked over the coals for his big mergers last fall, Bloomberg reports. Merrill Lynch trading and refinancings at Countrywide helped drive the earnings surprise.
Shareholders will vote on Lewis' fate on April 29. “Three weeks ago, everyone had a noose around Ken Lewis’ neck,” notes one analyst, “but it’s amazing what a 50% increase in stock price can do.” Bank of America shares, which sank as low as $2.53 in February, closed at $10.60 on Friday, amidst a wider financials rally.