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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 5:23 pm

Summary Box: What to watch in bank earnings

By The Associated Press

LOWER ESTIMATES: Median earnings for the largest banks are expected to drop 13 percent, according to the brokerage Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. Despite a stock market rally in the first quarter, the volume of stock trading was its lowest since 2006. That's no help for banks, which make money on commissions when they conduct trades for their customers.

CORPORATIONS WARY: Corporate clients are also wary - stock offerings were down 60 percent and mergers and acquisitions fell 23 percent in the quarter compared with last year. That hurts banks that count on deals for fees.

LOW MORTGAGE RATES: Mortgage rates hit a historic low in the first quarter and January and February had the highest home resales in five years. That should help banks with big mortgage lending operations.