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JPMorgan Q1 earnings blow past estimates; Dimon sees 'extremely robust, multi-year growth'

Julia La Roche
·Correspondent
·3 min read
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JPMorgan Chase (JPM), the largest U.S. bank by assets, reported results on Wednesday that blew past estimates, as the economy's rebound from the COVID-19 crisis spurred by massive stimulus gathers steam.

Here are the key figures versus estimates, according to Bloomberg:

  • Adjusted earnings per share (EPS): $4.50 vs. $3.05 estimate

  • Revenue: $32.3 billion vs. $30.42 billion estimate

During the quarter, the bank earned $14.3 billion in net income, up $11.4 billion from the year prior, driven by credit reserve releases of $5.2 billion. That compared to credit reserve builds of $6.8 billion in the prior year, and helped boost earnings by $1.28 increase in earnings per share. 

In his commentary, CEO Jamie Dimon said its credit reserves of $26 billion are "appropriate and prudent, all things considered." He echoed his upbeat views on the U.S. economy that he recently outlined in his annual letter to JPMorgan shareholders.

"With all of the stimulus spending, potential infrastructure spending, continued Quantitative Easing, strong consumer and business balance sheets and euphoria around the potential end of the pandemic, we believe that the economy has the potential to have extremely robust, multi-year growth," the CEO wrote.

"If all of the government programs are spent wisely and efficiently, focusing on actual outcomes, the benefits will be more widely shared, economic growth will be more sustainable and future problems, like inflation and too much debt, will be reduced," Dimon added.

Not 'challenged' after all

Dimon noted that consumer spending has returned to "pre-pandemic levels," up 14% from the first quarter of 2019. He also added that loan demand "remained challenged," even with the recovery in spending. However, on a call with investors and reporters, he walked back that characterization.

“I think I made a mistake in my quote using the word ‘challenged.’ What happened is the consumer has so much money they’re paying down their credit loans, which is good. Their balance sheet is in excellent, outstanding shape,” Dimon said.

He insisted that consumers are “ready to go” and are starting to spend money “and that’s not the same as loan demand when the economy’s weak.” He estimated that consumers have $2 trillion more in cash in checking accounts than before COVID.

On the media call, Dimon said businesses took advantage of huge financing in the marketplace to raise a lot of cash.

"We think they have something like $2 trillion of excess cash on the balance sheets. And obviously, when they [businesses] raise cash in the public markets, they can pay down loans to banks. That happened both in large companies, middle-market companies, etc. They're also poised. So this is not bad news about loan demand. This is actually good news," Dimon said. 

Breaking the results down further, banking revenue jumped 70% to $4.5 billion. Investment banking revenue hit $2.9 billion, up a whopping 222% year over year and reflecting higher fees.

The bank's markets revenue hit $9.1 billion, up 25%. Fixed Income revenue climbed 15% to $5.8 billion, while equity markets revenue hit $3.3 billion, up 47%.

Shares of JPMorgan were trading down 1.68% near $151.39 in the pre-market.

Julia La Roche is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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