Trading revenues dive at JP Morgan

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TRADING revenues at JP Morgan, the first big US bank to report first- quarter earnings, fell sharply as a result of recent market upheavals, pushing net earnings down 20 per cent to dollars 345m ( pounds 235m).

But the decline in trading profits was considerably less than many on Wall Street had expected, prompting some to suggest that other big international trading firms may not have fared as badly as predicted.

Morgan's trading revenues fell by 24 per cent from the same period in 1993 to dollars 356m. But the results were good, considering the bank's relatively large business in emerging markets, which have suffered setbacks in recent months.

'Considering the bloodbaths that have taken place in some of these markets of late, this is quite a creditable performance,' said Rafael Soifer, banking analyst with Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.

While Morgan's traders can take credit for some of the relatively good showing, 'we shouldn't be too surprised if we see comparable results from Citicorp, Bankers Trust and others in the coming days,' Mr Soifer said.

JP Morgan's total revenues fell to dollars 1.39bn from dollars 1.48bn a year ago. Most of the bank's other businesses turned in more or less flat year-on- year results, although net interest revenues fell to dollars 397m from dollars 432m, the result of lower past-due interest receipts from Brazilian and Argentine assets.

Excluding these restructuring countries, net interest revenue - the bank's earning from traditional lending - rose 5 per cent from the first quarter of 1993, although it warned that net yield would continue to decline as its business shifted towards lower-yielding securities-trading activity.

Corporate finance revenue was dollars 117m, with lower underwriting revenue largely offset by higher advisory fees. Operational services - custody, clearing and brokerage fees - were up sharply to dollars 144m.

On a per share basis, operating earnings fell to dollars 1.69 from dollars 2.16. In midday trading, the bank's shares were trading off dollars 3 8 at dollars 623 8 .