The bank, during its annual Investor Day conference on Tuesday, outlined its long-term goals, which include an operating return on tangible common equity (ROTCE) of 15% to 16%, which is a slight reduction from the goal of 16% laid out a year ago.
But with the bank continuing to build capital, as required under the international Basel III agreement, with even more stringent requirements from U.S. regulators, the real news from Tuesday's presentation is that there really wasn't anything new.
"The ship is steady, and that should help the multiple," wrote Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski in a client note on Tuesday following JPMorgan's presentation. The multiple is indeed quite low. JPMorgan's stock closed at $57.03 Tuesday and trades for 9.0 times the consensus 2015 earnings estimate of $6.35 a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2014 EPS estimate is $5.94 a share, compared to $4.35 in 2013, when the company entered into $17.5 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities settlements with government authorities and private investors, and a record $5.20 a share in 2012, despite more than $6 billion in pretax losses from the "London Whale" hedge trading debacle.
So the analysts are expecting JPMorgan to return to setting profit records this year, with the company finally turning its focus on improving its operations, rather than putting out regulatory fires. "[We do confess that it would be nice to see a 2014 result in which the reported numbers are the same as the "Ex Items") number," Kotowski wrote. He rates JPMorgan "outperform," with a $72 price target, implying 26% upside over the next 12 months.