JP Morgan says first-quarter trading revenue to drop significantly

Key Points
  • J. P. Morgan says revenue from trading would probably drop by a "high-teens" percentage in the first quarter.
  • Overall, there has been weaker client activity in the first quarter, which is nearly two months old. 
  • The outlook echoes that of Goldman Sachs, which said earlier trading desks were having a slower start to this year than last year.
Traders work at the JPMorgan Chase & Co. booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York.
Peter Foley | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Wall Street's trading desks are off to a tepid start this year.

J.P. Morgan Chase, the world's biggest investment bank, said that first-quarter trading revenue would probably fall by a "high-teens" percentage amid a slew of difficult factors, according to Daniel Pinto, head of the firm's corporate and investment bank.

The bank's currency and emerging markets debt traders had a tough comparison to a robust 2018 first period, Pinto said Tuesday in a presentation during the bank's annual investor day. Further, the bank's equities desks had a "slow start," he said. And overall, there was "weaker client activity," meaning that the bank's hedge fund and corporate clients weren't as keen to place bets, he said.

Excluding a one-time $500 million gain last year due to a change in accounting rules, the decline in trading revenue would be in the "low teens" percentage, Pinto said.

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon has previously said that he expected his trading desks would have a slower first quarter compared to 2018.