JPMorgan's fourth-quarter adjusted earnings rose 84% to $1.12, beating analysts' consensus forecast by 12%. Its top-line tally, up 13%, exceeded expectations by 7.8%. The bank is lending more. Loans grew 1%, up in five of six business units. Trading revenue was down 8%. The bank's net interest margin, at just below 2.9%, missed Wall Street's target of 3%. Still, the quarter was considered an overwhelming positive, with JPMorgan topping the investment-bank league tables for global fees, even though its operating profit dropped 24%.
JPMorgan's retail and card-services businesses swung to profits from year-earlier losses. Amid a strengthening recovery, diversified financial stocks have fallen out of favor, but JPMorgan is expected to more than double its dividend in 2011. Based on aggregate ratings, JPMorgan is analysts' favorite Dow component. It receives 28 "buy" recommendations and five "hold" calls. No researchers rank JPMorgan "sell." Although Goldman rates the stock "buy", its $54 target is below the median, at $54.29. Barclays forecasts that the stock will rise 32% to $60 in 12 months.