Three major hurricanes striking the U.S., a Federal Reserve rate hike and flaring tensions between President Donald Trump and North Korea have failed to revive sluggish global markets.
And that means big banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) , Citigroup Inc. (C) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) probably saw shrinking trading profits during the third quarter as calm markets left investors idle and offered few opportunities for quick gains.
Banks on average probably saw third quarter capital-markets revenue fall 12% from a year earlier, with bond trading down an even-steeper 18%, according to a report Tuesday by New York-based Goldman Sachs.
"On the trading front, all primary products experienced much lower levels of volatility," Goldman Sachs analyst Richard Ramsden wrote in the report.
The big Wall Street firms are set to reveal their third-quarter trading results starting Thursday with earnings releases from JPMorgan and Citigroup. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) , Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley (MS) are slated to report results over the following week.
Standard & Poor's, the credit-rating firm, said Tuesday that markets have been so slow lately that global investment banks probably will see full-year markets revenue decline by 5% in 2017. Previously, S&P had projected a 5% increase.
"A lull in market volatility has stifled client activity," S&P said in a statement. "The prolonged revenue pressures might lead some banks to further restructure, which could potentially weaken their business stability or capital generation."
Unlike in prior quarters where the firms made up for some of the lost trading profits with buoyant fees from mergers advice and bond underwriting, the third quarter was sluggish in those businesses. Completed merger volumes fell an average 6%, in dollar terms, while bond-underwriting volumes slid 17%, according to Goldman Sachs.
One bright spot was stock underwriting: Initial public offerings increased by 43%, Goldman Sachs estimated, as rising markets prompted more companies to sell shares at increasingly attractive valuations.
JPMorgan's combined revenue from bond- and stock-trading and investment-banking probably fell 14% from a year earlier, the worst of four banks tracked by Goldman Sachs. Bank of America's probably dropped by 12% while Citigroup and Morgan Stanley each saw 9% declines, Ramsden estimated.
Goldman Sachs's own revenue from the businesses probably slid 12%, Barclays analyst Jason Goldberg estimated in an Oct. 6 note.
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