JP Morgan’s first quarter financial results are out.
Earnings and revenue were both stronger than expected.
CEO Jamie Dimon also had some nice things to say about the economy.
“We are seeing positive signs that the economy is healthy and getting stronger,” he said. “Housing prices continued to improve and new home purchases are also starting to come back.”
But he also had some bad news:
Dimon added: “The exception is that loan growth across the industry has been softer this quarter, although year-on-year growth remained strong. Small businesses remain cautious about the recovery and fiscal uncertainty, and are not investing their capital. However, companies’ balance sheets are much stronger than they were before the financial crisis and small businesses remain well positioned to invest in growth once they decide to. With approximately 2 million small business customers…”
Fiscal uncertainty has been a major hindrance to growth. Dimon had much to say about this in his annual letter to JP Morgan shareholders earlier this week. Here’s an excerpt:
Good public policy could create even stronger growth – uncertainty has become the norm. Political gridlock and the inability to craft and pass even a “baby bargain” (although we all would have preferred a “grand bargain”) have left the future fiscal situation untenable and future tax poli- cies unclear. Then you add in a debt ceiling crisis and fiscal cliff scenario – you get my point. Confidence, which usually is the secret sauce for the economy, for both indi- viduals and companies, gets eroded. All this is impeding our ability to grow as fast as we could and should.
The solutions actually are well-known. What we need is good old-fashioned collaboration and compromise. Growth will lead to more jobs and, we hope, more prosperity for all.