JPMorgan had a huge second quarter.
The firm, which is the first bulge-bracket bank to report earnings, beat analyst expectations in both trading and investment banking.
One business that had a particularly strong quarter was fixed income, currencies, and commodities, or FICC, trading, which produced revenues of $3.96 billion — up 35% from the same quarter last year.
Those are the highest quarterly FICC revenues for the firm since Q1 2015 ($4.1 billion). You’d have to go back to the Q1 2013 to find significantly better results ($4.8 billion).
This may come as a surprise.
If you’ve been paying attention to the fixed income world, you know that business has had a terrible run in recent years. FICC revenues fell 9% across major banks last year.
But as most firms began to turn away from the business, JPMorgan has said it would stick to its guns.
“We’re investing in it,” CEO Jamie Dimon said at the bank’s investor day in February. “We’re investing in it more on the technology side.”
CFO Marianne Lake later echoed that sentiment, saying that JPMorgan’s fixed income markets business continued to perform as its rivals retrenched.
It’s important to note Brexit’s potential impacts on JPMorgan’s trading results. When the UK voted to leave the European Union in June, the firm posted record foreign exchange trading volumes, at one point processing 1,000 trading tickets per second, according to Dimon.
That will have had an impact on the firm’s foreign exchange revenues, but JPMorgan was up in a number of divisions, including rates, credit, emerging markets, and securitized products. And it’s unlikely that it would account for a 35% jump in revenues.
Now the question is whether JPMorgan was the sole firm to smash expectations, or whether we’ll see comparable results across the Street in the coming days.
Jefferies in June reported trading — and fixed income — revenues that were better than normal, but not much better. Goldman Sachs has previously laid out a bull case for fixed income; we’ll have a window into their FICC business when that firm reports earnings next Tuesday.
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