Market Insider

Here's your quick look at Friday's big bank earnings

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Banks will need to prove in their quarterly results that they've justified their stocks' massive post-election gains.

"The market has rewarded the stocks very well in the fourth quarter," said Ken Leon, senior equity analyst at CFRA Research. "The question is, can they really catch up with the euphoria of having a Trump administration?"

The fourth-quarter reporting season kicks off in earnest Friday with results from BlackRock, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and PNC Financial. Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs report early next week after Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The bank stocks are a key part of the U.S. market's rally to record highs. The SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) has shot up more than 24 percent since the election, while the broader financials sector is up 17 percent as the top performer in the over that time.

As a result, expectations are generally elevated.

Barclays analyst Jason Goldberg said in a Wednesday note that most of the large banks it covers should beat consensus earnings estimates. That's despite a history of fourth-quarter numbers disappointing, Goldberg said.

"I don't think there's a lot of room for shortfall, assuming we don't get a surprise," said Devin Ryan, analyst at JMP Securities. "We're going to be focusing more on incremental comments from management that suggest the backdrop is changing."

Investors may not hear as much optimism on potential political changes as they would like. While the bank stocks have rallied early this year to highs not seen since the 2008 financial crisis, not many expect the complete repeal of the post-crisis Dodd-Frank legislation as Trump has promised.

"They're probably going to be slower than maybe the market has anticipated. We don't view financial regulation as a top priority for the new administration," said Shannon Stemm, financial services analyst at Edward Jones.

In his first news conference since the election Wednesday, Trump did not discuss tax reform or deregulation.

Wells Fargo will take its own place in the spotlight for its second earnings report since a phony bank accounts scandal came to light. Friday's report will mark the first full quarter with Tim Sloan as president and CEO, after the abrupt departure of John Stumpf as chairman and CEO just days before Wells Fargo's third-quarter report in October.

"I think there are going to be a lot of questions asked," said Cathy Seifert, senior equity analyst at CFRA Research. "We're going to have to hear from them how what they're doing to resolve that and further issues like that."

— CNBC's Chris Hayes contributed to this report.