Trading and investment banking fattened quarterly profit at JPMorgan. But higher costs and slimmer net interest margins trimmed Wells Fargo's results. Fred Katayama reports.
Strong trading activity fattened earnings at JPMorgan Chase. The U.S.' largest bank grew its quarterly profit 12 percent. Currency and equity trading spurred earnings this time. That's a contrast to the fourth quarter, when weak trading had hurt profit. Sparking that volatility in foreign exchange was the Swiss central bank's move in January to scrap a cap on its currency. Profit rose across its big business units. S&P Capital IQ bank analyst Erik Oja: SOUNDBITE: ERIK OJA, ANALYST, S&P CAPITAL IQ (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They're the world's leading investment bank, and they sure showed it in Q1. Investment banking was very strong. Mergers and acquisitions contributed. They booked a lot of large deals in Q1. And trading and underwriting of equity and fixed income was very strong." JPMorgan's profit and revenue topped expectations, and its shares rose in early trading, closing in on its all-time high. The results could provide some defense for CEO Jamie Dimon as he faces calls by critics to break up the bank . JPMorgan experienced a huge surge in mortgage origination's, as did Wells Fargo, the U.S.' largest mortgage lender. Wells reported it increase in its loans in the quarter. But its profit slipped as costs rose and its net interest margin shrank in this low rate environment. Its shares fell in early trading. Bank of America reports its results Wednesday.