JPMorgan profit surges as bank releases cash set aside for bad loans

Markets revenue rose 25% to $9.1B

JPMorgan Chase & Co. reported first-quarter profit spiked nearly 400% after the bank released cash that had been set aside to cover bad loans. 

The New York-based lender earned $14.3 billion, or $4.50 per share, as revenue rose 14% year over year to $33.12 billion. The company was helped by favorable comparisons after having to build up reserves in the year-ago period to protect against the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

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JPMorgan released $5.2 billion of reserves during the quarter, decreasing the size of its buffer to $26 billion. 

Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refintiv were expecting JPMorgan to earn $3.10 per share on revenue of $30.52 billion.

The results reflect a "strong underlying performance across our businesses, partially driven by a rapidly improving economy," CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement. 

JPMorgan shares were little changed following the results. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
JPM JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. 162.14 +1.90 +1.19%

Markets revenue rose 25% from a year ago to $9.1 billion. Fixed-income trading revenue rose 15% to $5.8 billion, driven by strong performance in securitized products and credit. Equities trading revenue jumped 47% to $3.3 billion.

The company also benefited from record issuance of special purpose acquisition companies, which saw more activity during the first three months of the year than in all of the record-breaking 2020. The firm reported investment banking revenue rose 222% from last year to $2.9 billion. 

Assets under management jumped 28% to $2.8 trillion.

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JPMorgan maintained its 90-cent per share dividend.

Shares were up 21% this year through Tuesday versus the S&P 500's 10% gain.