Morgan Profits Top Predictions

The first sign the banking sector continues to do well: J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) reported record first-quarter profit and revenue that exceeded analysts’ expectations as the bank benefited from higher interest rates.

The company said profit rose 5% to $9.18 billion, or $2.65 a share, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $2.35 a share. Revenue also rose 5% to $29.9 billion, exceeding estimates by about $1.5 billion as net interest income grew 8%, thanks to what a press release issued Friday by the company calls the "impact of higher rates."

The Federal Reserve hiked its benchmark rate for the fourth time last year in December.

According to CEO Jamie Dimon, "Even amid some global geopolitical uncertainty, the U.S. economy continues to grow, employment and wages are going up, inflation is moderate, financial markets are healthy and consumer and business confidence remains strong."

J.P. Morgan, which is the biggest U.S. bank by assets, is also the first major lender to report earnings. The company is closely watched by investors looking for signs of how the industry’s Main Street and Wall Street businesses did in the period.

Morgan, led by Dimon since 2005, has resumed its pattern of exceeding analysts’ profit expectations. In the fourth quarter, the bank under delivered for the first time in more than 15 straight quarters after tough trading results.

The bank also announced the first cryptocurrency from a major U.S. bank, and pledged $350 million to boost the job prospects of people in under-served communities.

JPM early Friday vaulted $4.28, or 4%, to $110.51