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JPMorgan surprises with $5.4-billion profit

July 14, 2011 |  6:55 am

Photo: A JPMorgan Chase & Co. sign is displayed in front of the company's headquarters in New York City. Credit: Jin Lee/Bloomberg JPMorgan Chase beat back some of the malaise that has settled over the financial industry to announce improved revenue and profits in the second quarter of the year.

The bank, the nation's second largest, said Thursday morning that it made a $5.4-billion profit between April and June, up 13% from a year ago. Both the bank's profit and revenue were better than analysts had expected. It earned $1.27 a share, compared to $1.09 a year ago and $1.28 last quarter.

The bank's stock was up in early trading 3.1%, or $1.24, to $40.86.

In recent weeks analysts have grown increasingly pessimistic about the health of U.S. banks, but JPMorgan showed increased revenue across most divisions of its bank. For the U.S. economy the most hopeful sign was the improving credit of the bank's Main Street customers.

"We’re continuing to show improvement in our consumer credit trends," said Doug Braunstein, the bank's chief financial officer, in a conference call with analysts.

The number of the bank's credit card customers who were more than a month late in making payments fell 5% from a year ago and 3.5% from last quarter, allowing the bank to release $1 billion that it had put aside to cover credit card losses.

Even the bank's mortgage customers appeared to be doing better, but the bank had to put aside $2.3 billion to deal with mortgage legal problems such as an impending foreclosure settlement with a committee of state attorneys general.

While most banks have been talking about laying off employees, JPMorgan announced that it had added 7,000 employees in the last three months.

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Wall Street to Washington: Don't mess around on the debt ceiling!

-- Nathaniel Popper

Photo: A JPMorgan Chase & Co. sign is displayed in front of the company's headquarters in New York City. Credit: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

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