Bank Profits Appear Out of Thin Air

This is starting to feel like amateur hour for aspiring magicians.

Another day, another attempt by a Wall Street bank to pull a bunny out of the hat, showing off an earnings report that it hopes will elicit oohs and aahs from the market. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and, on Monday, Bank of America all tried to wow their audiences with what appeared to be -- presto! -- better-than-expected numbers.

But in each case, investors spotted the attempts at sleight of hand, and didn't buy it for a second. 

With Goldman Sachs, the disappearing month of December didn't quite disappear (it changed its reporting calendar...