JPMorgan Earnings: Here's How to Read Them

JPMorgan earnings preview updated with fresh share price information and additional forecasts in the seventh paragraph.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Legal costs are a wild card while lower revenues from trading and mortgage origination are widely expected as JPMorgan Chase  (JPM) prepares to report first quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell on Friday.

Analysts are looking for the bank to earn $1.46 or $5.4 billion, on revenues of $24.49 billion, compared to $1.82 per share last quarter and $1.62 in the first quarter of 2013.

Thirty one analysts recommend JPMorgan shares, while 9 rate the bank's shares a "hold" and two have "sell," ratings according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

"Relative to 4Q13, we expect modest balance sheet expansion, a relatively stable net interest margin, lower investment banking fees, higher core trading revenues (but down from 1Q13), lower mortgage results, controlled expenses (though seasonal pressure on comp), sound asset quality trends (with continued reserve release) and higher, but still modest, share repurchase," wrote Barclays analyst Jason Goldberg in a report published Wednesday. Goldberg has an "overweight" rating on JPMorgan with a $67 price target. That compares to Thursday's close of $57.40, down 3.16% versus Wednesday's close.

While Goldberg argues legal costs for the bank "should begin to abate," FBR Capital Markets analyst Paul Miller, who rates JPMorgan Chase "neutral," cited the bank, along with Bank of America (BAC) and First Horizon National Corp. (FHN) as stocks to "avoid" based on "litigation risks and lower trading/mortgage banking revenues." Miller has a $55 price target on JPMorgan shares even though his $1.45 per share earnings estimate is higher than both the consensus figure and that of Barclays' Goldberg, who is at $1.42.

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