JPMorgan Chase Tuesday swung to profitability in the third quarter from a loss last year as it reported mixed results across its businesses and disclosed $1 billion in fresh legal expenses.
JPMorgan, the biggest US bank by assets, notched earnings of $5.6 billion for the period ending September 30, after reporting a rare loss of $380 million a year ago following a $9.15 billion legal charge.
Analysts said they were surprised by bank's $1 billion in legal expenses, well above Deutsche Bank's projection of $200 million.
JPMorgan chief financial officer Marianne Lake said the expense was "in large part" due to investigations over foreign-exchange trades. JPMorgan and other large banks face investigations in Britain and elsewhere over allegations they rigged the currency market.
Earnings in the giant consumer and community banking division fell 8.7 percent to $2.5 billion, driven partly by weaker results in mortgage banking and higher set-aside costs in case of credit losses.
On the positive side, the bank scored higher investment banking fees and saw an improvement in trading revenues for clients, particularly in foreign exchange and emerging markets.
Overall loans came in at $743.3 billion, up 2.0 percent from the year-ago period.
Bank officials said business conditions are generally improving.
"While challenges remain in the global economic recovery, the US economy is an exception, showing signs of steady improvement," said chief executive Jamie Dimon.
"Corporate America is in good shape with strong balance sheets and employment trends continue to be positive."
Third-quarter earnings translated into $1.36 per share, two cents below expectations.
Revenues rose to $24.25 billion from $23.12 billion reported last year, slightly above the $24.01 billion projected by analysts.
Dimon disclosed July 1 that he was diagnosed with throat cancer and would receive radiation and chemotherapy treatment. On Friday, he made his first public appearance since completing the treatments, at a Washington forum.
"I feel good," he told a media conference call.
Bank officials and investors alike were caught off guard early Tuesday when a portion of JPMorgan's earnings release ended up on the Internet hours before the scheduled 7:00 am (1100 GMT) release.
A JPMorgan spokesman said the early release apparently was due to a problem with the Nasdaq-owned Shareholder.com web service that provides information to investors.
A Nasdaq spokesman said Shareholder.com inadvertently released a supplemental earnings file from JPMorgan at 736 GMT due to "human error."
Shares of JPMorgan dipped 0.1 percent to $58.13 in midday trade.