Trading Floors ‘Quiet’ as Revenue Drops, JPMorgan Analysts Say

  • Analysts lower earnings estimates for biggest investment banks
  • FICC revenue to fall 12% on last year, equity trading down 28%

Quiet trading floors are set to depress global investment banks’ second-quarter revenue 24 percent, with the underwriting and equities businesses facing the biggest drops, according to analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Equity-trading revenue will retreat 28 percent compared with the same period in 2015, while fixed income, currencies and commodities, or FICC, will drop 12 percent, analysts led by Kian Abouhossein said in a report Thursday. The analysts cut their 2016 earnings estimates for seven of the eight global firms they cover.

Trading of interest-rates products and currencies is “showing a normal seasonal slowdown,” Abouhossein wrote. In equity derivatives, “lower revenues are driven by ongoing weakness in Asia.”

Trading revenue at investment banks on both sides of the Atlantic has been under pressure as volatility in financial markets and fears over global growth resulted in the most subdued start to a year since 2009. Backed by a healthier domestic economy, U.S. investment banks are continuing to take market share from their retreating European competitors, and trading is becoming more concentrated in the largest five firms, Citigroup Inc. said in a note last week.

Deutsche Bank AG is the JPMorgan analysts’ top pick as it could cut costs faster than investors expect. Credit trading revenue will probably outperform that of macro products, benefiting firms such as Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. compared to their commercial bank rivals, according to the note.

Second-quarter advisory and capital markets revenue will plummet 32 percent on last year, the analysts wrote. While equity underwriting fees will rebound from the first quarter, they’ll drop more than 60 percent from a year earlier at the biggest firms, according to the estimates.

Credit Suisse Group AG, in the midst of a major overhaul shedding billions of euros of assets under new Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam, will probably post the biggest drop in second-quarter investment banking and trading revenue at 32 percent, followed by UBS Group AG’s 28 percent decline, according to the report. Barclays Plc revenue in those businesses will probably fall 14 percent, the least of the global banks tracked by JPMorgan’s analysts.

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