JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), the largest bank in the U.S., has risen 5-fold since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008 as CEO Jamie Dimon has reshaped the company. But some analysts say JPMorgan's growth, for the moment, may have peaked as the economy slows and the positive impact of tax cuts wanes.
So it's no wonder that JPMorgan may report less than enthralling numbers when it reports Q2 earnings in mid-July. The bank is expected to post earnings per share of $2.54, marking an 11% increase from the year ago, which looks impressive on the surface. But revenue growth will be tepid, estimated to rise 2.9% to $29.2 billion. The numbers will be a big contrast to Q1, when the bank posted record net income.
That outlook is one reason why many investors have grown cautious on bank stocks, including JPMorgan, which has slightly lagged the 12.1% gain of the bank group and also the 16.7% rise of the S&P 500 index year to date.
“Just as the stock market was unduly optimistic about JPMorgan and the group before the financial crisis, it’s inappropriately pessimistic now,” Wells Fargo analyst Mike Mayo told Barron's in a recent cover story.
What Investors Will Be Watching For
When Dimon and his team report results, investors will want to know how he plans to bolster profits as the economy slows and if stocks enter a bear market, which would drag down volumes in key business lines and weigh heavily on the bank's results.
Potential headwinds for JPMorgan in Q2 include the possible impact of interest rates and an inverted yield curve on profits. Until recently, steady increases in interest rates allowed financial giants to charge borrowers more and therefore post a greater margin on what they pay depositors. But a more dovish Fed could disrupt profits with a series or rate cuts.
A key focus will be on two big areas: JPMorgan's consumer bank, which accounts for 45% of earnings and includes credit cards and mortgage lending; and the corporate and investment bank, where its trading business is housed, which provides 35% or profits, per Barron's.
A big concern is that lower rates will eat away at profits in several of its core commercial business, according to Barron's, even though they could boost home-lending as mortgage rates ease, Barron's says. JPMorgan's loan growth has moderated and was 4% in the first quarter. CEO Dimon even has indicated that he's willing to see a drop in loan growth to avoid unnecessary risk. Investors also will be looking at whether Dimon can stem the plunge in trading revenue, which fell 17% in Q1.
Of course, JPMorgan's future is tied inextricably to the economy. Last month, JPMorgan's economists sharply cut their outlook for Q2, highlighting the threat of global economic developments and the impact of trade wars on business sentiment and activity, per CNBC. By its own analysis, that amounts to a major headwind that will rein in the bank's profits and share price.
JPMorgan reports on July 16.