JPMorgan Earnings Clear a Lowered Bar

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) reported first-quarter 2016 results before markets opened Wednesday. The investment bank and financial services giant reported adjusted diluted quarterly earnings per share (EPS) of $1.35 on revenue of $24.08 billion. In the same period a year ago, it reported EPS of $1.45 on revenue of $24.82 billion. First-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $1.26 on revenue of $23.4 billion.

Quarterly profits dropped 7% from $5.91 billion in the first quarter of 2015 to $5.52 billion. The bank’s non-interest expenses declined 7% from $15.37 billion to $13.84 billion driven by lower Corporate & Investment Banking expense and lower legal expenses.

Quarterly revenues were down 3%, driven by lower Fixed Income Markets revenue and Investment Banking fees. Provision for credit losses was $1.8 billion, compared with $959 million in the prior-year quarter, due primarily to reserve increases in the current quarter versus those in the prior-year quarter.

By divisions, net income in the consumer and community banking group rose by $271 million to $2.49 billion, commercial banking net income was down 17% at $496 million and asset management group net income rose 17% to $587 million for the quarter.

Corporate and investment banking group net income fell 22% from $2.54 billion to $1.98 billion and revenues fell 15%. Lending revenue was $302 million, down 31%, reflecting mark-to-market losses on hedges of accrual loans and lower gains on securities received from restructurings.  Provision for credit losses in the group totaled $459 million, compared to a benefit of $31 million in the prior-year quarter, primarily reflecting higher reserves in the Oil & Gas and Metals & Mining portfolios.

Bank CEO Jamie Dimon said:

We delivered solid results this quarter with strong underlying drivers. The consumer businesses continue to grow loans and deposits impressively, attracting deposits faster than the industry. The U.S. consumer remains healthy and consumer credit trends are favorable.

While challenging markets impacted the industry, we maintained our leadership positions and market share in the Corporate & Investment Bank and Asset Management, reflecting the strength of our platform. Even in a challenging environment, clients continue to turn to us in the global markets and we saw positive net long-term asset flows in Asset Management.

JPMorgan increased its Basel III Tier 1 common ratio to 11.7% in the first quarter.

The bank did not offer guidance in its press release, but the consensus estimates call for second-quarter EPS of $1.43 on revenues of $24.05 billion. The EPS estimate for the 2016 fiscal year is $5.62 on revenues of $95.4 billion.

The full-year estimates have dropped about 8% from their levels of three months ago. The first-quarter EPS estimate had dropped about 17% in the past three months. JPMorgan hurdled a very low bar.

Shares traded up about 2.9% in Wednesday’s premarket to $60.99. The current 52-week range is $50.07 to $70.61. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of $69.29 before the results were announced.