JPMorgan profit climbs 24 percent, beating forecasts, on trading surge

(Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N reported a 24 percent rise in fourth-quarter profits on Friday, beating analyst expectations, as its Wall Street business benefited from a surge in trading activity following the U.S. election.

A J.P. Morgan logo is seen in New York City, U.S. January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

JPMorgan, the largest U.S. lender, said earnings rose to $6.7 billion, or $1.71 per share, from $5.4 billion, or $1.32 per share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding an atypical tax benefit, the bank earned $1.58 per share, well above the average analyst estimate of $1.44 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

JPMorgan has one of the largest global investment banks, which affects its earnings significantly when market activity picks up or declines. Along with other big banks, it was widely expected to benefit from a wave of trading in stocks and bonds following Donald Trump’s stunning victory in the presidential election on Nov. 8.

Revenue from fixed-income trading – JPMorgan's most volatile business – rose 31 percent to $3.4 billion, while stock trading revenue increased 8 percent to $1.2 billion. Bank of America Corp BAC.N, which reported results earlier on Friday, also said trading revenue surged last quarter.

In a statement discussing results, Chief Executive Jamie Dimon cited those market trends, as well as growth in deposits and loans, higher credit card sales and competitive gains in “virtually all” of JPMorgan’s businesses. The bank also kept a tight lid on expenses, he said.

JPMorgan’s shares were little changed in premarket trading. Like other banks, its stock has seen big gains since the election on expectations that Trump’s plans to cut taxes, ease regulations and boost infrastructure spending will help profits. JPMorgan’s stock had risen 23 percent from the election through Thursday’s close.

Wells Fargo & Co WFC.N also reported earnings on Friday, but its much smaller trading business did not benefit from post-election market enthusiasm. Its results were also hurt by the fallout from a sales scandal.

Looking ahead, big banks are expected to benefit this year from rising interest rates, which allow them to charge more money for loans. The Federal Reserve, which raised a key rate target by a quarter of a percentage point in December, is expected to raise them again three times in 2017.

JPMorgan said its net interest income rose 5 percent during the fourth quarter to $12.1 billion, thanks to an uptick in rates, as well as more lending. The bank’s total net revenue rose 2.5 percent to $24.33 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $23.95 billion.

Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bengaluru and David Henry in New York; Writing by Lauren Tara LaCapra; Editing by Ted Kerr and Chizu Nomiyama