Rise in client activities seem to have driven JPMorgan’s (JPM - Free Report) trading revenues in fourth-quarter 2019. Trading revenues constitute nearly 20% of the bank’s total revenues and will support its results slated on Jan 14, before market open.
Uncertainty related to the U.S.-China trade war and Brexit, expectations of global economic slowdown, the Federal Reserve’s accommodative stance and a number of happenings in the latter part of the quarter along with strong domestic economy kept trading desks busy.
During an investor conference in December, JPMorgan’s CFO Jennifer Piepszak had stated that trading revenues in the fourth quarter are expected to be up “meaningfully” year over year, with gains largely driven by fixed income operation. In the year-ago quarter, the company’s fixed-income trading revenues were at the lowest levels since the 2008 financial crisis.
Thus, trading revenues are likely to have been robust during the to-be-reported quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for equity trading revenues of $1.38 billion suggests a rise of 5% from the prior-year reported figure. The consensus estimate for fixed income trading revenues indicates increase of 40% year over year to $2.60 billion.
Other Factors at Play
Increase in mortgage banking fees: The Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy and lower mortgage rates during the fourth quarter drove mortgage origination volumes and refinancing activities. These along with rise in demand for residential real estate loans are expected to have supported JPMorgan’s mortgage banking income.
The consensus estimate for mortgage fees and related income of $442 million indicates a significant jump from the prior-year quarter reported number.
Muted growth in investment banking (IB) fees: Though the number of closed deals declined during the fourth quarter, a higher number of announced M&As indicate a strong pipeline. Further, global deal value seems to have shrunken as well. Thus, JPMorgan’s advisory fees are likely to have been negatively impacted.
On the other hand, solid equity markets performance and the central banks’ accommodative stance drove corporates to issue equities across the globe. Moreover, bond issuance volumes were strong, while debt issuances were muted as loan demand was soft. Hence, growth in JPMorgan’s equity underwriting fees and debt origination fees (accounting for almost 60% of total investment banking fees) are expected to have been weak in the fourth quarter.
Further, management expects IB revenues to be flat on a year-over-year basis. In the December conference, Piepszak said, “The quarter has played out a little bit better than we thought largely on healthy investment grade flow given the rate environment. Important to note there that the wallet is shrinking. So staying flat for us year-over-year is the continuation of us taking share in IB fees.”
The consensus estimate for IB fees of $1.81 billion indicates a slight decline from the prior-year quarter reported number.
Decline in net interest income (NII): During the fourth quarter, the overall lending scenario remained decent except in commercial and industrial. This is likely to have aided JPMorgan’s NII growth to some extent. However, decline in interest rates likely had an adverse impact on NII and net interest margin in the to-be-reported quarter.
With a bit of improvement in the market rate environment, management expects NII to be nearly $14.2 billion, on par with the third-quarter level. Additionally, for 2019, NII is expected to be less than $57.5 billion due to a number of factors, including lower long end rates and expectations of up to three rate cuts this year.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for NII of $13.9 billion projects 3.3% decline on a year-over-year basis.
Rise in expenses: As JPMorgan’s plan to enter new markets by opening branches is already a work in progress, operating expenses have likely remained on the higher side. Also, increased investment in technology to strengthen digital offerings has probably resulted in a rise in costs in the to-be-reported quarter.
For 2019, the company expects operating expenses to be nearly $65.5 billion, up $2.7 billion from 2018 level. This additional spending includes $600 million of new technology investments and $1.6 billion for marketing, front-office hiring, new branches and a new headquarters building.
Here is what our quantitative model predicts:
Our proven model shows that JPMorgan has the right combination of the two key ingredients — a positive Earnings ESP and Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better — that increase the odds of an earnings beat.
You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.
Earnings ESP: The Earnings ESP for JPMorgan is +0.41%.
Zacks Rank: It carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), which increases the predictive power of ESP.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings of $2.30 indicates 16.2% rise from the year-ago reported number. Further, the consensus estimate for sales of $27.3 billion suggests 4.4% increase.
Other Major Banks That Warrant a Look
Here are a few other major bank stocks that you may want to consider, as our model shows that these have the right combination of elements for an earnings beat this time around:
The Earnings ESP for Bank of America (BAC - Free Report) is +0.12% and it carries a Zacks Rank of 2. The company is scheduled to report quarterly numbers on Jan 15.
PNC Financial (PNC - Free Report) is scheduled to release results on Jan 15. The company has an Earnings ESP of +0.55% and carries a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
The Earnings ESP for BNY Mellon (BK - Free Report) is +0.36% and it carries a Zacks Rank of 2, currently. The company is scheduled to report earnings on Jan 16.
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