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Bank Earnings Kick Off


Considering how we ended last week — with a mid-day Dow cratering more than 500 points — this week, while continuing with overall trademark volatility associated with markets in 2018, has been much easier to swallow. And, not including those unfortunate souls affected by triskaidekaphobia, Friday the 13th does not look to be striking fear into the hearts of traders this morning.

It’s understandable why: with China backing off its toughest stance regarding future trade negotiations earlier this week following a fearful standoff most of last week, the specter of an attack on Syria not having yet been realized, and even a reported presidential re-think on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal have lent plenty of relief to market indexes this week and ahead of today’s opening bell.

We also see the dawning of Q1 earnings season taking effect as of this morning, with the biggest of the Wall Street banks putting out earnings reports. All good news on this front: JPMorgan Chase JPM, Citigroup C and Wells Fargo WFC all topped estimates in both earnings and revenues. All three companies — prior to Q1 earnings results — currently carry Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) recommendations.

For JPMorgan, earnings of $2.37 per share outpaced the expectations of $2.28 per share. Quarterly revenues reached $28.5 billion, ahead of the $27.8 billion analysts had been looking for, and well ahead of the $25.9 billion reported in the year-ago quarter. CEO Jamie Dimon was quoted as saying, “Our units are doing well across the board.” For more on JPM’s earnings, click here.

Citigroup earnings also posted higher than the Zacks consensus, with $1.68 per share versus the $1.61 estimate. Revenues, however, came in a bit light of expectations at $18.87 billion, beneath the $18.90 billion our estimates had tallied. Like JPMorgan, Citi enjoyed a benefit in the quarter from a vastly reduced corporate tax rate, though analysts have been baking in these figures in their estimates.

Wells Fargo, still working through its accounts scandal from past quarters, beat the Zacks consensus on the bottom line by 5 cents, reporting $1.12 per share. Revenues of $21.93 billion surpassed expectations of $21.68 billion in the quarter, which also saw corporate tax relief resulting in 5.5% growth year over year.

Elsewhere, a new set of accounting standard principles for General Electric GE is bringing the company to restate its earnings for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. According to the company’s 10K, both years are expected to bring deeper losses as the company takes on the heavy lifting required to dig itself out of its multiple-year hole it dug for itself. Included in its near-term activities will reportedly be the sale of $20 billion in assets. GE shares are -55% year over year, and currently at lows not seen since Bill Clinton was president.

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