JPMorgan's fourth-quarter profit jumps 47 per cent

JPMorgan Chase & Co has reported a 47 per cent leap in fourth-quarter profits, helped by narrowing losses on bad loans.

The bank said earnings climbed to $4.8bn (£3bn), or $1.12 a share, from $3.3bn, or 74 cents a share, a year earlier.

Consensus estimates were for a profit of $1 a share, RBS analysts said.

"Although we continue to face challenges, there are signs of stability and growth returning to both the global capital markets and the U.S. economy," said chief executive Jamie Dimon.

JPMORGAN'S asset management, private banking and brokerage businesses all reported significant asset and revenue growth in the fourth quarter.

The asset management division, which includes the bank's mutual fund, hedge fund and institutional money management activities, generated a record $2.61bn in revenue.

Assets under management rose four per cent to $1.3trn.

Private banking revenue rose by 18 per cent to $1.38bn as assets under management rose five per cent to $284bn.

The number of client advisers in the bank's broader asset management division rose 16 per cent to 2,245 from last year.

The number of JPMorgan Securities – formerly Bear Stearns Private Client Services – brokers rose ten per cent to 415 in the same period.

JPMorgan also reported fewer bad loans, which allowed it to release $2bn in loan loss reserves from its credit card unit.

"The loan-loss reserves are something that bugs me," said Matt McCormick, portfolio manager and banking analyst at Bahl & Gaynor. "I would love to see a bank hit their numbers without taking from loan-loss reserves for once."

The bank benefited from a turnaround in its retail banking unit, which reported a profit of $708m compared with a loss of $399m in the year-earlier quarter.

Revenue increased six per cent to $26.7bn.

The bank's shares fell 20 cents to $44.25 in premarket trading.