NEW YORK (AP) - Bank of America says fourth quarter profits rose nearly 10 percent from a year earlier, helped by lower expenses and continued improvement in its consumer banking division.

NEW YORK (AP) Bank of America says fourth quarter profits rose nearly 10 percent from a year earlier, helped by lower expenses and continued improvement in its consumer banking division.

The consumer banking giant said Tuesday it had a profit after payment of dividends to preferred shareholders of $3.01 billion in the three month period ending in December, or 28 cents per share. That's compared to a profit of $2.74 billion, or 25 cents per share.

The results beat expectations. Analysts surveyed by Factset expected earnings of 27 cents per share, on average.

BofA's revenue in the quarter was $19.53 billion compared with $18.73 billion the year before.

BofA's shares rose 2.5 percent in pre-market trading.