JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup profits up; Wells Fargo flat

JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon gave a generally positive outlook Thursday, saying, "US consumers and businesses are healthy overall and with pro-growth initiatives"

Strong trading results in the first quarter drove profits higher at JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, which also got a boost from a decline in funds set aside for bad energy loans, the banks reported Thursday.

But in the wake of its fake accounts scandal, Wells Fargo's net income was flat, also reflecting the bank's smaller presence in trading and investment banking, which buoyed results for the other two banks.

"The momentum we saw across many of our businesses towards the end of last year carried into the first quarter, resulting in significantly better overall performance than a year ago," Citigroup chief executive Michael Corbat said.

JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon said the results reflected the fact US consumers and businesses were "healthy overall."

At Citigroup, net income for the quarter ending March 31 rose 16.8 percent from the same three-month period last year to $4.1 billion.

At JPMorgan net income for the quarter ending March 31 was $6.5 billion, also up 16.8 percent.

At Wells Fargo, net income came in at $5.5 billion, the same as the year-ago level.

JPMorgan cited higher debt and equity underwriting fees and gains in trading revenues tied to fixed income and the trading of other products. Citigroup also pointed to strength in investment banking and trading.

All three banks benefited from a decline in reserves set aside to cover bad energy loans compared with the year-ago period, when low oil prices threatened petroleum producers.

Wells Fargo's results came three days after the bank released a report on the factors that led to scandal over the opening of about two million deposit and credit card accounts without the customers' approval or knowledge.

Wells Fargo chief executive Tim Sloan said the bank has "continued to make meaningful progress" in rebuilding trust with customers and other important stakeholders," according to a press release.

"We have taken significant actions throughout the company to date and we are committed to building a better bank as we move Wells Fargo forward."

Shares of JPMorgan rose 0.3 percent to $85.68 in pre-market trading. Citigroup lost 0.3 percent to $58.33 and Wells Fargo fell 2.3 percent to $51.90.