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JPMorgan Chase Posts Strong Results

 JPM Giant, money-center bank JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM – $63.04) reported better-than-expected March-quarter earnings. Despite recording $0.13 a share of legal expenses in the opening period of 2015, share net of $1.45 exceeded the $1.28 logged in the year-earlier quarter and seven cents ahead of consensus estimates. Company-wide revenues rose $967 million year-to-year, or 4%, driven by a strong performance by the Corporate & Investment Banking division. Higher fee-based revenues in the Asset Management and Mortgage businesses also helped. But net interest income only matched the year-earlier tally and slipped 3% on a consecutive-period basis, as margins compressed in the low interest-rate environment. The outlook for the balance of 2015 is mixed. Management expects core loans to increase about 10%, but margin and net interest income probably will remain under pressure until short-term interest rates rise. Mortgage loan originations have risen, but servicing revenues are expected to decline. Credit card sales volumes stay healthy, despite the negative effect of lower gasoline prices. But investment banking and markets revenues are relatively volatile and may not stay quite as strong as in the first quarter. Stock repurchases, under a $6.4 billion buyback authorization that expires on March 31, 2016, ought to enhance earnings per share in the next several quarters and the company intends to increase the quarterly dividend payout from $0.40 a share to $0.44 at its next dividend meeting. The stock, which hit an intra-day multi-year high, still offers decent total return potential to late decade for patient, aggressive investors.


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