Despite profits tumbling 51 percent and the largest loan-loss provision in its history, JPMorgan Chase — the United States' largest bank — actually beat expectations for its second quarter earnings report amid the coronavirus pandemic. That's thanks to record trading revenue, which jumped 15 percent, highlighting Wall Street's rapid recovery from the economic crisis.
For context, the bank's fixed-income traders — those focusing on bonds, money markets, and other debt securities — generated enough revenue to set the record on their own, even if the equities group was stagnant.
The 99-percent rise in fixed-income revenue likely has a lot do with policy set by the Federal Reserve earlier this year.
Still, CEO Jamie Dimon was cautious in a press release, noting "we still face much uncertainty regarding the future path of the economy." The record $10.5 billion loan-loss provision, while countered by the trading revenue boom, shows the bank is preparing for the worst.
In other banking news, fixed-income trading revenue similarly helped Citigroup beat expectations, but Wells Fargo, which has a smaller investment-banking presence than JPMorgan and Citi, was unable to generate the same earnings, leading to a historically rough quarter. Tim O'Donnell