Bank of America returns to profit
US giant Bank of America has revealed it returned to profit in the first three months of 2010 as the sector's recovery gathers pace.
BoA reported first quarter net income of $3.2bn (€2.4bn) against losses of $194m in the final three months of 2009.
Its profit cheer follows better-than-expected figures from fellow Wall Street major JP Morgan Chase & Co earlier this week, when the group posted a 54pc hike in profits.
The strong start to America's bank earnings season has spurred on UK listed banks, with part-nationalised player Royal Bank of Scotland the biggest beneficiary today.
RBS shares soared more than 8pc - to the highest level for six months - thanks also to a positive note from broker Morgan Stanley, which raised its target price on the group and said sentiment for all the UK banks had improved amid the recent economic recovery.
Barclays and taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group joined RBS in making share gains, up more than 2pc each.
BoA, which bought fellow investment bank Merrill Lynch at the height of the financial crisis, said its result reflected "a gradually improving economy".
Brian Moynihan, chief executive of BoA, said: "With each day that passes, the 2010 story appears to be one of continuing credit recovery."
Its better-than-expected profits came as strong trading revenue helped the bank offset continuing losses on consumer loans.