Steve April 14, 2021
us-stocks-end-mixed-despite-stellar-bank-earnings

Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo all unveiled earnings for the first quarter that surpassed analysts’ forecasts, but Wall Street ended mixed on Wednesday.

Wall Street indexes closed mixed on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 falling despite another record intraday high for the latter and big banks’ stellar results on the first day of earnings season.

Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Wells Fargo & Co rose on bumper first-quarter profits.

Goldman capitalized on record levels of global deal-making activity, and Wells reduced bad loan provisions and got a grip on costs tied to its sales practices scandal.

JPMorgan Chase & Co’s shares fell despite the largest United States bank’s earnings jumping almost 400 percent, as it released more than $5bn in reserves to cover coronavirus-driven loan defaults.

“The bank earnings were strong, but the market expected them to be strong,” said Christopher Grisanti, chief equity strategist at MAI Capital Management.

Employees of Coinbase Global Inc, the biggest US cryptocurrency exchange, watch as their listing is displayed on the Nasdaq MarketSite jumbotron at Times Square in New York City, the United States [File: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]

“So the question becomes how do the bank stocks rise more from here. That’s not clear. They have had a nice ride. I think there will be other places to make money more easily in the future.”

Despite bumper trading and investment-banking revenue, lending by both JP Morgan and Wells Fargo fell from a year ago.

Investors will be watching this metric carefully in the upcoming earnings of smaller banks, which are more focused on traditional lending and deposit-taking.

The KBW Regional Banking Index has outperformed the KBW Bank Index during the year to date, although the latter – which represents 24 of the largest US banks – has beaten the index of smaller institutions over the last month.

“Financials have done well for a while, so we’re happy with that now, but will we reach a point of diminishing returns in that sector? I don’t know,” said Drew Horter, president and chief investment officer of Tactical Fund Advisors in Cincinnati.

The S&P 500 financials sector was one of the first quarter’s best performers, rising 15 percent even as the Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates low in the near future. It rose on Wednesday.

Low rates engineered by the Fed have been one of the central reasons for the stock market’s surge over the last year [File: Brendan McDermid/Reuters]

The S&P 500 energy sector was the largest gainer among the 11 sub-indexes, as it tracked higher oil prices.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 54.87 points, or 0.16 percent, to 33,732.14, the S&P 500 lost 16.75 points, or 0.40 percent, at 4,124.84 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 138.26 points, or 0.99 percent, to 13,857.84.

The Nasdaq was weighed by technology-related stocks, including Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Tesla Inc.

Coinbase Global Inc jumped upon its listing on the Nasdaq on Wednesday. Its shares opened at $381 versus a reference price of $250.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain-related firms including Riot Blockchain and Marathon Digital Holdings fell after soaring ahead of Coinbase’s debut and as Bitcoin hit a record high of over $63,000 on Tuesday.

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