A show of confidence has turned into a substantial paper gain for Kenneth D. Lewis, Bank of America Corp.'s chief executive officer.

Lewis has made roughly $2.5 million of profit on 400,000 B of A shares he bought in January and February, according to regulatory filings and the company's closing price Tuesday. He made the purchases in the weeks after the $2.3 trillion-asset Charlotte company reported a fourth-quarter loss for itself and a staggering loss for Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., which B of A bought Jan. 1.

Lewis, who was stripped of his chairmanship by shareholders last month, got a $1.5 million salary last year.

A number of other B of A officers and directors bought stock at the same time, and they have made a profit on their investments.

A majority of Lewis' stock holdings have lost value over the last 12 months. A company spokesman said it doesn't comment on compensation.

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