Brexit, be darned: The U.S. consumer is doing just fine, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co., and that bodes well for the economy even as Europe is buffeted by political turmoil after the U.K.’s historic referendum last month to leave the European Union.
The bank posted profit and revenue Thursday that beat analysts’ estimates as it extended $106 billion more in loans than a year earlier, a 16 percent jump, backing up the firm’s belief in the durability of the world’s biggest economy.
Brexit was a “political and economic challenge that will take time to resolve, but not a financial crisis, and the impact on global growth and the U.S. economy should be small,” Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake said Thursday in a call with reporters. “We had broad-based demand for loans pretty much across categories, whether it was auto, business banking, cards, so I would say that speaks well for the U.S. economy and the consumer in particular.”
The referendum sparked concern that U.S. corporations would be hurt by a stronger dollar and reduced overseas demand. Instead, equity markets rose to records amid resilient employment figures and bets that central banks would stimulate markets. While the vote happened at the end of the second quarter, JPMorgan’s comments support the idea that Brexit wasn’t a so-called black swan event that will derail global economic growth.
JPMorgan, the first big U.S. bank to report second-quarter results, rose 2.4 percent to $64.68 at 10:47 a.m. in New York. Shares of other financial firms also climbed, with the 24-company KBW Bank Index advancing 1.7 percent.
JPMorgan’s profit beat analysts’ estimates on the jump in loan growth as well as gains in fixed-income trading revenue. Net income dropped to $6.2 billion, or $1.55 a share, from $6.29 billion, or $1.54, a year earlier. One measure of adjusted earnings, which excludes an accounting gain and a legal benefit, comes to $1.46 a share. Another gauge, which also strips out a one-time gain from the sale of its stake in Visa Europe and a loss on its holding in Square Inc., brought adjusted earnings to $1.50 a share, beating the $1.43 average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Revenue climbed 2.8 percent to $25.2 billion. The figure included $3.96 billion from fixed-income trading, a 35 percent increase. The firm cited strength in rates, currencies, emerging markets, credit and securitized products. Equity trading rose 1.5 percent to $1.6 billion.
When asked about the outlook for trading revenue, Lake said it was “fine” in July and would probably decline as it typically does during the summer. While uncertainty and market volatility can suppress investment-banking activities like merger advice and equity issuance, there are still active boardroom discussions around acquisitions, Lake said.
Charles Peabody, an analyst at Portales Partners LLC, questioned whether the improvement in the second quarter are sustainable.