JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) is due to report earnings Thursday, before the market opens, and Wall Street is pretty optimistic about the numbers it might report. technical analysts are very optimistic on the numbers it might report. That’s good news, considering how much of the post-election rally JPM stock has given up in the past month or so.
While the consensus is that JPMorgan Chase will earn $1.51 per share, or about $5.5 billion, the “whisper number” — one analysts supposedly give their best clients — sits at about $1.59 per share of profits. The expectation is that whatever earnings are produced will come on revenues of $24.57 billion.
The optimism is new. The stock has essentially gone nowhere since the start of the year. That’s despite an increase in JPM’s dividend, from 48 cents to 50 cents, bringing the yield to current buyers up to 2.3%.
Still, analysts looking to please their clients are now “pounding the table” for JPM stock, telling people that now is the time to buy.
Buy, Buy, Buy?
This is true for writers here at InvestorPlace as well.
Sam Collins, our chief technical analyst, called recent price action “a minor consolidation” last month, noting that it recently paid out over $2 billion to settle the final litigation stemming from the 2008 financial collapse. Yet he called the technical case for buying strong.
Our Nicholas Chahine has also been advocating purchases of JPM common. He calls the profits in the stock “free” and the run-up in bank stocks “awe inspiring.”
InvestorPlace writers are not the only analysts who like the stock here. Get ready to buy is the mantra. The average analyst weight on the stock is “overweight,” with about a third having it on their buy lists.
The bank seems to be beating its peers in several sectors, especially at the investment bank, what you might call the Morgan side of the house. Its share of the credit card market is also up, to over 21.5%, so that while JPM stock is trading at a premium to its peers, it’s earnings that premium based on performance.
The Bear Case for JPM Stock
There is still a bear case to be made for the bank, and for all big banks.
This starts with President Donald Trump.
While there was great optimism about the possibility of “tax reform” (i.e., corporate tax cuts) as recently as a month ago, the failure of the American Health Care Act means his credibility is lower, making it potentially more difficult to get such a tax-cut bill through Congress.
CEO Jamie Dimon’s annual letter to shareholders, released last week, asks for regulatory reform. He writes that JPMorgan Chase has a “fortress balance sheet,” that banks have “too much” capital, and that capital can be released to help the economy grow.
Dimon’s letter highlights risks to the economy — the costs of wars, the price of healthcare, high corporate tax rates — so much of the growth of banking would come from changes to public policy, which is starting to become stuck in the same partisan quagmire it was in before last November’s election.
Bottom Line on JPMorgan Chase
While the outlook for basic banking has remained strong, the average analyst rating on banks has grown weaker this quarter, reflected in the poor performance of JPM stock and brethren like Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) and Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC).
But there are growing hints that the banks may have had a very strong first quarter, JPMorgan Chase especially.
Technical analysts are the primary force pounding the table for the banks, saying the banks are oversold at current prices, and should correct higher after earnings.
My own view is that the age of the recovery, and growing uncertainty in the world economy, make some sort of market correction almost inevitable. And Dimon may be pleased he was so strong in 2017 when 2019 makes the bills for over-optimism due.
The complaints he is making, about the bank being “too strong,” may be the best reason to buy JPM stock now. It’s not entirely recession-proof, but it certainly looks recession-resistant.
Dana Blankenhorn is a financial and technology journalist. He is the author of the sci-fi novella Into the Cloud, available at the Amazon Kindle store. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @danablankenhorn. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.