JPMorgan Earnings Weighed by Consumer

JPMorgan Chase's ( JPM) spike in consumer credit costs and cautious statements regarding overall credit mirrors mounting consumer woes in the economy.

The New York-based banking institution said profit fell 10% to $2.14 billion, or 40 cents a share, in the first three months of the year, but beat analysts' expectations by 8 cents a share, helped by strong results in its investment banking business. But the numbers were offset by the large provisioning the company incurred during the quarter for rising loan losses.

Shares were rising earlier in the day as investors applauded the company on the earnings beat as well as the proactive measures taken to boost reserves. The stock was up 2% to $33.21.

JPMorgan Chase's costs related to credit totaled $10.06 billion in the quarter, almost twice the total amount it had related to credit problems a year earlier. About $4.2 billion were additions to reserves as opposed to covering for charge-offs -- meaning that JPMorgan Chase expects losses to intensify.

The company's total loan loss reserve amounted to $27.3 billion, or 4.53% of total loans, compared to 3.62% in the fourth quarter and 2.74% at other large banks in the fourth quarter, it said. Nonperforming loans in the first quarter totaled $11.4 billion, excluding the loans from Washington Mutual that were already deemed "credit impaired," it said.

"It's reasonable to expect additional increases to credit reserves if the economic environment worsens," CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement. "Yet, we are confident that even a highly adverse economic scenario would not compromise our overall strength and stability -- or our ability to enhance our franchises. We remain well-positioned to benefit when the economy recovers and remain committed to servicing our clients, investing in our franchise and building a stronger company for the future."

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