JPMorgan Chase’s fourth-quarter net profit fell 37% but earnings excluding a one-time charge related to the new tax law beat analysts’ expectations and the bank expects the tax cuts will boost profitability this year.
As The New York Times reports, JPMorgan’s “underlying finances were obscured [in the fourth quarter] by accounting for the new tax package.” The $2.4 billion writeoff related to a one-time repatriation tax on income it has kept abroad and adjusting the value of its deferred tax assets and liabilities.
Reflecting the charge, JPMorgan posted a net profit dropped to $4.23 billion, or $1.07 per share, from $6.73 billion, or $1.71 per share, a year earlier.
But on adjusted basis, the bank earned $6.7 billion, or $1.76 per share, beating the average estimate of $1.69 per share as rising interest rates produced gains in net interest income that offset a slowdown in trading revenue.
Net revenue rose 4.6% to $25.45 billion, slightly above the estimate of $25.15 billion.
The fourth-quarter results “indicate that the bank and its peers could grow even more profitable in the years ahead,” the Times said, noting that JPMorgan’s effective tax rate will be about 19% — far lower than what it has paid in most past years.
“The enactment of tax reform in the fourth quarter is a significant positive outcome for the country. U.S. companies will be more competitive globally, which will ultimately benefit all Americans,” JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in a news release.
Although JP Morgan plans to use some of its tax savings for compensation, business investments, helping rural communities and other uses, it will mostly boost profits, executives said on an earnings call. “Much of it will fall to our bottom line in 2018 and beyond,” CFO Marianne Lake said.
Among the bank’s business segments, investment banking continued to struggle, with profits falling by 34% from a year earlier amid continued low market volatility and tighter credit spreads. Bond trading revenue fell 27% while equity trading revenue was flat.
But the consumer and business banking division posted net revenue of $5.6 billion, up 16%.