Bank of America earnings beat expectations

Bank Of America Building

Bank of America reported a 9.8 percent rise in profit for the final quarter of the year, helped by lower expenses.

BofA, the No. 2 U.S. bank by assets, said its net income attributable to common shareholders rose to $3.01 billion, or 28 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, from $2.74 billion, or 25 cents per share, a year earlier.

Non-interest expenses fell 2.3 percent to $13.87 billion.

Revenue for the quarter came in at $19.53 billion, against the comparable year-ago figure of $18.96 billion.

Analysts expected Bank of America to post adjusted earnings of 26 cents per share on $19.86 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Bank of America shares have stumbled out of the gate this year, falling 14 percent year to date. They sold off with the rest of the financial sector Friday.

The banking giant's earnings will provide another look at the sector's health after JPMorgan Chase , Wells Fargo and Citigroup reported results late last week. Both Citigroup and JPMorgan beat Wall Street's estimates, but their shares fell in the wake of the results.

Bank of America joined its peers in raising its prime lending rate rate by 0.25 percent in December after the Federal Reserve hiked its interest rate target by the same amount. Many banks have yet to see the increase boost their bottom lines.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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