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JPMorgan's first-quarter profit falls as investment banking and mortgage revenue drops

NEW YORK, N.Y. - JPMorgan Chase, the nation's biggest bank by assets, said Friday its first-quarter earnings fell 20 per cent, driven by a decline in investment banking and mortgage lending.

EARNINGS: The bank reported net income of $4.9 billion for the first quarter, after stripping out payments to preferred stockholders. That was down from $6.1 billion in the same period a year earlier.

MISSED EXPECTATIONS: On a per-share basis, the earnings amounted to $1.28. That was worse than estimates of analysts polled by FactSet, who had been expecting $1.39.

LOWER REVEUE: Revenue, after stripping out the effect of an accounting charge for credit losses, was $23.8 billion, down 8 per cent from $25.8 billion a year earlier.

FIXED INCOME TRADING: Revenues at the bank's fixed income trading business, part of its investment banking unit, slumped 21 per cent to $3.8 billion.

"I look at it as doing fine, it's just not that predictable a business," said Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan's CEO and Chairman. "There's nothing wrong with that, you just have to deal with it over time."

MORTGAGE BUSINESS SLOWS: The bank's mortgage business continued to slow. The increase in bond yields since last summer has caused mortgage rates to rise, which in turn has stopped consumers from refinancing their home loans. Revenue at the bank's mortgage unit was $1.6 billion, down $1.1 billion from the same period a year earlier.

The bank doesn't expect the trend to change anytime soon. Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake told reporters on a conference call to "expect that trend to be relatively consistent."

THE STOCK REACTION: Shares are down $2.44, or 4 per cent, at $54.95 in early trading. The bank's stock is down 6.5 per cent this year.

The Canadian Press

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