Tuesday 14 January 2020 3:59 pm

JPMorgan Chase kicks off US earnings season with record annual profit

JPMorgan Chase brought in a record annual profit in 2019, its fourth-quarter results showed today, outstripping analysts’ expectations as it kicked off the US earnings season in fine style.

The US’s biggest bank was boosted by a marked increase in bond trading as the global economy was shaken by the trade war between Washington and Beijing. Its shares rose 2.3 per cent in early trading to $140.34.

JPMorgan Chase chairman Jamie Dimon said that although “geopolitical issues” continue, “global growth stabilised, albeit at a lower level, and resolution of some trade issues helped support client and market activity towards the end of the year”.

Profit at the New York-headquartered lender rose 21 per cent year on year to $8.5bn (£6.6bn) in the final three months of the 2019. This took earnings per share to $2.57, well above the consensus prediction of $2.35.

Revenue rose nine per cent year on year to hit $29.2bn in the fourth quarter, significantly ahead of the £27.9bn analysts had anticipated.

The strong performance took JPMorgan’s profit for 2019 soaring to a record high of $36.4bn, or $10.72 per share.

JPMorgan’s giant corporate and investment banking arm drove profit upwards in the fourth quarter.

In particular, an 86 per cent year-on-year increase in bond trading revenue to $3.4bn provided a boon after a weak 2018 for fixed-income markets.

There was some weakness in the Chase consumer and commercial banking arm, where revenue fell two per cent to $6.4bn in the fourth quarter.

Nonetheless, profit still rose by five per cent at Chase to $4.2bn year on year. Average deposits were five per cent higher while card sales were up 10 per cent.

“The US consumer continues to be in a strong position, and we see the benefits of this across our consumer businesses,” Dimon said.

After JPMorgan Chase made a strong start to the earnings season, Citigroup’s results showed a 15 per cent profit jump in the fourth quarter, also aided by a strong trading performance.