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JPMorgan first-quarter profit surges on trading, investment banking boost

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JPMorgan Chase & Co reported a surge in first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, as the largest US bank released more reserves and was aided by a blowout quarter from its trading desks and soaring investment banking fees.

JPMorgan, widely seen as a barometer of the health of the broader US economy, was also helped by favorable comparisons to last year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the bank to build reserves against the risk of a wave of loan defaults.

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Net income rose to $14.3 billion, or $4.50 per share, in the quarter ended March 31, from $2.9 billion, or 78 cents per share, a year earlier. During the quarter, JPMorgan released reserves of $5.2 billion.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $3.10 per share, according to Refinitiv.

Revenue jumped 14 percent to $33.1 billion.

While the largest US banks struggled last year with the economic effects of the pandemic, investors are optimistic that a recovery this year on the back of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package and widespread vaccinations could restore normalcy.

JPMorgan’s profit was boosted by reserve takedowns, while a robust performance from capital markets and investment banking offset declines in its consumer bank.

Goldman Sachs, Wall Street’s premier investment bank, is expected to report results later on Wednesday, followed by Wells Fargo.

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