JPMorgan beats profit estimates, says consumer remains strong

(Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N kicked off bank earnings on Tuesday by beating Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit by a wide margin, a signal that the U.S. consumer remains strong, executives at the largest U.S. bank said.

FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the JP Morgan Chase & Co. corporate headquarters in New York City May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files

Strength in bond trading and underwriting boosted revenue here at three of the bank's four main businesses, allaying concerns about the impact of an escalating U.S.-China trade war, slowing global growth and low interest rates.

“It does look like geopolitics, particularly around China and trade, are reducing business confidence,” Chief Executive Jamie Dimon told reporters on a conference call, adding that current consumer financial strength is “very powerful.”

“The consumer is not under strain. The consumer is doing fine,” Dimon said.

He said that although job growth has slowed slightly, “it is still positive and it may very well not go negative.”

The only business to report a fall in revenue was commercial banking, where lower interest rates hampered results.

Overall, revenue rose 8% to $30.06 billion, well above the average analyst estimate of $28.49 billion, on the back of better-than-expected results in the bank's bond trading business, where revenue surged 25%. Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N also reported a rise in revenue from the business.

Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski described JPMorgan’s results as “solid,” noting that trading and investment banking results were strong, credit metrics held up well and that the bank managed to produce higher interest income even as rates declined. “Nothing not to like,” Kotowski wrote in a note.

Strength in bond trading helped offset weakness in equity trading, which it blamed on lower derivatives trading and M&A advisory fees.

The bank’s net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30 was $9.08 billion, or $2.68 per share, compared with $8.38 billion, or $2.34 per share, a year ago.

Analysts, on average, had expected the bank to earn $2.45 per share, according to Refinitiv data.

Shares were up 2.9% at $119.84 in morning trading.

Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bengaluru and Elizabeth Dilts Marshall in New York; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Bernadette Baum