US financial services giants JP Morgan today reported a drop in earnings, resulting in their first missed profit forecast in 15 quarters.
JP Morgan recorded a $7.1 billion profit for the year – a 70% increase vs 2017 – but the fiscal results published show that JP Morgan earned $1.98 per share in the last quarter, compared to estimates of $2.21 per share.
Weak Bond trading was given as the cause for the underachievement, with reduced revenues, but bank stocks in general suffered heavily in the final quarter of 2018 with the increased speculation that a recession will occur in the near future.
The other surprise was JP Morgan’s precautionary action to set aside $1.55 billion for credit losses. This was $250 million more than predicted, and an 18% rise compared to 2017’s pot.
JPMorgan's fixed-income revenue of $1.9 billion missed the consensus estimate of $2.3 billion. So Citi’s FICC miss was not a fluke. Let’s see if JPM can also spin this in a positive light on the earnings call...— Lisa Abramowicz (@lisaabramowicz1) January 15, 2019
The American firm, which is responsible for investment banking, financial services, commercial banking and asset management, seemed to attribute some of the blame to the ongoing US federal government shutdown, which is in a record 25th day.
In a statement issued following the results, JP Morgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, urged Democrats and Republicans alike to resolve the stand-off.
“As we head into 2019, we urge our country’s leaders to strike a collaborative, constructive tone, which would reinforce already-strong consumer and business sentiment” said Dimon.
“Businesses, government and communities need to work together to solve problems and help strengthen the economy for the benefit of everyone.”
Dimon’s statement also applauded the company’s record performance in equities and strong revenue growth for the investment banking side of the company.
The market reaction to the news was a 2.1% share fall for JP Morgan in the pre-market (before opening), causing the Dow Jones to erase its early gains. Global markets have been resilient today though with the news from China that the world’s second-largest economy is likely to add additional stimulus packages to help avoid any dramatic economic slowdown; news that has reassured concerned investors.