By David Benoit 

JPMorgan Chase & Co. on Friday said fourth-quarter earnings jumped 42%.

The bank posted a profit of $12.14 billion, or $3.79 per share, far past the $2.62 per share forecast by analysts polled by FactSet. A year earlier, JPMorgan had reported a quarterly profit of $8.52 billion, or $2.57 a share.

The nation's biggest bank reported revenue of $29.22 billion for the quarter, up 3% from a year earlier and topping analysts' expectations for $28.67 billion.

For the full year, through an economic spiral and an uneven recovery, JPMorgan posted record revenue of $119.54 billion, up 4% from 2019. The growth was powered by the Wall Street operation, which churned out stocks and bonds for clients eager to raise capital and trade securities amid an unsettled economy and record-high markets.

Still, the pandemic's impact on businesses and consumers forced the bank to put aside billions of dollars for potential loan losses earlier in the year. Full-year profit fell 20% to $29.13 billion.

In the fourth quarter, the bank was able to take down some of those buffers, pulling out $2.9 billion of its reserves. The economy has fared better than what executives had feared throughout the spring and summer.

In a statement, JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said the reserve release reflected the impact of vaccines and fiscal stimulus plans, but the bank remains positioned for "significant near-term economic uncertainty."

Investors sold off JPMorgan and other banks early in the pandemic, worried that loans would go sour. JPMorgan's stock fell 9% in 2020 while the S&P 500 rose 16%, the worst underperformance for JPMorgan in 30 years. Coronavirus vaccines and optimism that a Democratic-led Congress would pass more stimulus have lifted the banks so far in 2021, with JPMorgan up 11%.

Write to David Benoit at david.benoit@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 15, 2021 07:33 ET (12:33 GMT)

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