Bank of America shares close lower on Friday, 1 700 people hired in client support roles in March

1,700 people have been hired in crucial client support roles so far in March by Bank of America Corp’s consumer bank, according to a report by Reuters, citing a spokesperson, amid rising customer service demand.

Bank of America shares closed lower for the sixth time in the past ten trading sessions in New York on Friday. The stock went down 7.26% ($1.54) to $19.66, after touching an intraday low at $19.57 and an intraday high at $21.64.

Shares of Bank of America Corporation have retreated 44.18% so far in 2020 compared with a 28.66% loss for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).

In 2019, Bank of America’s stock went up 42.94%, thus, it outperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 28.88% gain.

Financial institutions have been placed in a difficult situation, as they have to maintain essential infrastructure, including ATMs, bank branches and trading floors, active as well as to offer relief measures to coronavirus-affected clientele.

Small businesses and individuals were offered certain relief, after Bank of America announced measures such as deferred payments on credit cards, auto loans, mortgages and refunds for checking account fees.

“We’re going to continue to provide convenient access to the important services they count on, and the additional assistance and support they need during this difficult period,” Dean Athanasia, who heads Bank of America’s consumer bank, said in a statement, cited by Reuters.

Last week, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co said that 20% of its branch network would be temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, while its frontline staff servicing customers during the health crisis would receive a $1,000 bonus.

Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation

According to CNN Money, the 23 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding Bank of America Corp’s stock price, have a median target of $36.00, with a high estimate of $45.00 and a low estimate of $28.00. The median estimate represents an 83.11% upside compared to the closing price of $19.66 on March 20th.

The same media also reported that at least 13 out of 25 surveyed investment analysts had rated Bank of America Corp’s stock as “Buy”, while 8 – as “Hold”. On the other hand, 1 analyst had recommended selling the stock.

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