JPMorgan Chase fails to impress Wall Street

Friday, April 12, 2013 - 11:00am

JPMorgan Chase reported better-than-expected first quarter profits Friday, despite what the bank described as soft loan growth.

Investors weren't pleased with the results though. Shares of the bank fell 1% in premarket trading.

Why was the market not impressed? If you dig deeper into the bank's profits, you'll find that $1.15 billion of the bank's $6.5 billion in net income came from releasing funds set aside to offset potential losses from faulty mortgage and credit card loans.

Investors typically don't like those types of profits since they cannot be replicated in further quarters and are also not a true indication of demand for the bank's services.

On a per share basis, the bank posted a profit of $1.59. That topped analysts' forecasts of $1.40. But the bank's revenues of $25.8 billion narrowly missed expectations of $25.9 billion.

CEO Jamie Dimon said that overall he was optimistic. "We are seeing positive signs that the economy is healthy and getting stronger," Dimon said in a release.

But Dimon also noted that there are challenges. He said small businesses remain "cautious about the recovery and fiscal uncertainty, and are not investing their capital."

There are signs that JPMorgan and other big banks will struggle to continue generating strong profits from home loans.

Mortgage banking earnings decreased by 31% compared to the first quarter of 2012. Revenues and profits in the consumer and business banking segment were also down from a year ago.

During a call with analysts in January, Dimon had predicted that mortgage results would bounce around for several quarters.

One bright spot: Investment banking. Revenues in the segment increased by 9% and profits rose by 28%, largely driven by the underwriting of corporate bond offerings.

Bank stocks have been on a tear this year following a hot 2012, which sets a high bar for bank earnings season. JPMorgan's shares are up 12% in 2013.

JPMorgan and Wells Fargo, which also released results Friday, are the first banks to report earnings. Wells Fargo's earnings also beat forecasts. But like JPMorgan, Wells Fargo's revenues were below estimates. Shares of Wells Fargo dipped in premarket trading.

Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are set to report next week.


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