HOT OFF THE WIRE

US banks report gains but shares sink

US banks report gains but shares sink

  • 13 April 2018
Image copyright Getty Images

Profits at JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo rose in the first three months of the year, but their shares slumped on Friday despite the gains.

JP Morgan's profits soared 35% year-on-year, with more modest increases reported at Citigroup and Wells Fargo.

Analysts said the share decline was a sign investors had already factored in some of the rise.

They were expecting more active stock markets and a lower tax rate to boost results.

Shares in all three banks sank more than 2% in early trading, providing a sour start to earnings season, when companies report quarterly performance to investors.

JP Morgan

JP Morgan reported profits of $8.7bn (£6.11bn) in the period from $6.4bn last year, despite a decline in investment banking.

Revenue increased 10% to $28.5bn, as a strong economy boosted activity at its consumer banking unit and the return of market fluctuations boosted trading, leading its equities unit to a record quarter.

Citigroup

Citigroup's profits rose 13%, reaching $4.6bn in the quarter from $4.1bn last year.

Revenues in the quarter were $18.4bn, a 3% increase from the same period in 2017.

The firm said volatility boosted its equity trading unit, helping to offset a fall in bond trading. As with JP Morgan, investment banking took a hit.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Regulatory issues cast a shadow on Wells Fargo's quarterly results

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo reported preliminary profits of $5.9bn in the quarter, rising 5% from the same period last year.

The results were overshadowed by the firm's ongoing problems with watchdogs.

Wells said US regulators have proposed to resolve investigations of vehicle insurance and might force it to restate its results.

"At this time, we are unable to predict final resolution ... and cannot reasonably estimate our related loss contingency," the bank said.

The firm has been under a cloud since revelations that the bank created more than two million fake accounts to meet sales goals and ignored or punished whistleblowers.

Then last year, the bank said it had wrongly charged customers for car insurance, among other problems.

In February, the US Federal Reserve, which regulates banks, said it would restrict the firm's growth until it improved its risk management oversight.

Revenue slipped from $22.3bn in the first quarter of 2017 to $21.9bn this period, hurt in part by "customer-friendly" changes the bank made to card and overdraft fees.