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JPMorgan’s profit rises as rivals stumble

From Times Wire Services

JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s third-quarter profit rose slightly as gains from private equity investments helped offset $1.64 billion in write-downs on takeover-related loans and other debt securities, the company reported Wednesday.

JPMorgan’s performance stands in sharp contrast to that of most other Wall Street firms, which saw profits plunge in the third quarter.

The performance is a vindication for Chairman and Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, who joined JPMorgan after his career path was blocked at rival Citigroup. Profit at Citigroup plunged 57% in the third quarter amid calls for the ouster of its top executive, Charles Prince.

“Jamie Dimon is a smart cookie,” said Meg McMullen, chief of New England Research & Management. “He’s ahead of the pack here.”

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JPMorgan, the third-largest U.S. bank, said third-quarter net income was $3.4 billion, or 97 cents a share, up from $3.3 billion, or 92 cents, a year earlier.

The company’s stock rose $1.26, or 2.8%, to $46.37.

Sandler O’Neill analyst Jeff Harte said enthusiasm for JPMorgan’s performance might be muted because its gains from private equity investments -- $766 million, up from $226 million a year earlier -- aren’t a reliable source of profit.

An area of concern for analysts is JPMorgan’s home equity loans. The bank said it increased its provision for losses on such loans by $306 million.

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