US bank earnings quick take: JPM beats

Equities

JPMorgan: Q3 EPS of $2.92 beat expectations for $2.35 on revenues of $29.95 vs the $28.39bn expected. Net income came in at $9.4bn, vs $4.7bn in the second quarter, with the doubling the result of much lower provisions for credit losses.

JPM had added $15bn in the first half but there has been a significant slowing in loan loss provisioning as the economy steadied and both fiscal support and targeted actions by the Federal Reserve reduced default rates. Fee income beat expectations and rose 7%. Non-interest expenses are higher than expected.

Return on equity rose to 15% from 7% in the prior quarter and back to where it was in Q3 2019. Return on tangible equity rose to 19% from 9% in Q2, and ahead of the prior year’s 18%.

How did trading revenues hold up?

  • Pretty well, markets and securities revenues +29% to $7.8bn, fixed income trading +29% to $4.6bn, equities trading revenues +32% to $2bn. Total markets revenues +30%. Investment banking revenues +12% to $2.1bn.

Have loan loss provisions worsened?

  • No, Q3 provision for credit losses of $0.61bn was well short of the $2.38bn expected. There is hope that having set aside large amounts already, JPM and others are past the peak, even if the economic situation deteriorates. The question for the shares is whether the market believes this optimistic assessment or whether there are deeper losses in the offing.

How are ultra-low rates affecting core business?

  • Badly, net interest income was down 9% at $13.1bn. The effect of the Fed’s ZIRP and QE ad infinitum continues to exert a drag on interest income and margins.

Anything else of note?

  • Americans are saving – average deposits rose 28%, while loans were –7% and credit sales –8%. The economy will require this trend to reverse to get moving again. Consumer banking income was down 9% at $3.9bn.
  • Company launching new account for kids as young as 6.

Shares: +1.77% in pre-market to $104.25 north of the 200-day EMA, which it has not managed to hold a push above since Feb. Read across lifting the other big banks ($GS, $WFC, $MS) Citigroup reports soon.