JPMorgan Chase reported lower-than-expected revenue and profit for the third quarter but improved efficiency fueled rising profits at many of the bank’s businesses.
On an unadjusted basis, JPMorgan earned $6.8 billion, or $1.68 a share, a 22.3% increase on the year-ago period that reflected a $2.2 billion tax benefit and other items. But excluding one-time items, earnings were $1.32 a share, a nickel short of analysts’ projections.
Revenues were down 6.4% at $23.54 billion, lower than analysts’ estimates of $24 billion.
The nation’s largest bank by assets “suffered from a sharp slowdown in trading activity amid falling emerging market growth that caused a tumble in commodity prices,” Forbes said. “However, despite almost across the board decreases in revenues, JPMorgan was able to use a focus on firmwide efficiency to engineer rising profits.”
In mortgage banking, for example, JPMorgan reported a 29% drop in revenue, but a 23% increase in profits. In consumer and business banking, profits increased 3% but revenues fell 4%. Much of the overall earnings miss was attributable to the bank’s important trading division, where revenues fell 16% year-over-year.
The bank scaled back its holdings of debt and equity trading assets during the quarter by 13%, reflecting efforts to reduce risk and decisions by some trading clients to stay on the sidelines. Revenue from trading bonds, currencies and commodities, a big profit engine for big banks, fell 23% to $2.93 billion, while revenue from the smaller division that trades stocks rose 9% to $1.4 billion.
“We had decent results this quarter,” JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement. “We saw the impact of a challenging global environment and continued low rates reflected in the wholesale businesses’ results, while the consumer businesses benefited from favorable trends and credit quality. Overall, our risk management discipline and diversified platforms across the businesses are serving us well,” he added.
But Evercore ISI analyst Glenn Schorr told The Wall Street Journal it was “tough to jump up and down about the results,” given the weakness in revenue, especially in trading businesses. The bank’s shares dropped 1.6% to $60.54 in after-hours trading.