Big Banks’ Results Show Strength

Earnings from J.P. Morgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo benefit from increased market activity and improved credit quality

A customer uses a drive-through ATM outside a Bank of America branch in Miami. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG NEWS

By
Christina Rexrode, Peter Rudegeair and Emily Glazer
Updated Jan. 15, 2017

Earnings from the nation’s three biggest banks backed investor hopes that a Trump presidency would bring less regulation and stronger economic growth that reinvigorates the financial sector.
The fourth-quarter performance of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. was largely in line with what Wall Street had expected: Trading revenue was upbeat thanks to increased market activity and volatility following the election; expenses remain in intense focus; credit quality continues to improve; and a recent upward move in interest rates should eventually produce gains in banks’ income.

Investors viewed the results positively enough that they continued to nudge the banks’ stocks higher. Financial stocks have driven much of the post-election rally, notching gains more than three times those of the broader markets.

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