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JPMorgan kicks off earnings season with bad news

The largest US bank by assets is often viewed as a bellwether for the rest of Wall Street. JPMorgan (JPM) posted a profit of $8.3 billion, or $2.63 per share in the first quarter of 2022, compared with $14.3 billion, or $4.50 per share the year prior.

Analysts expected earnings of $2.69 per share, according to Refinitiv.

CEO Jamie Dimon warned of serious risks for the US economy ahead in his uncharacteristically brief remarks.

“We remain optimistic on the economy, at least for the short term — consumer and business balance sheets as well as consumer spending remain at healthy levels — but see significant geopolitical and economic challenges ahead” he said.

When asked by CNN during a press call, Dimon elaborated that an upcoming recession is “absolutely” possible but he wouldn’t go so far as to predict the timing.

CFO Jeremy Barnum told reporters Wednesday that the bank lost an additional $120 million in the first quarter on nickel trading chaos that roiled the London Metals Exchange in March. JPMorgan had bankrolled Chinese miner Tsingshan Holding Group, a company that got caught in a short squeeze that topped $15 billion at its highest point.

Day drinking, 'Big Shot' and billions of dollars: How the nickel market imploded

JPMorgan, the largest lender in the US, reported a 28% drop in investment banking revenue in the first quarter. Investment banking fees fell by 31% because of lower equity and debt underwriting activity, said the bank.

The bank also reported that its board approved a $30 billion share buyback.

Shares fell 1.1% in premarket trading Wednesday.

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