JAMIE DIMON: If you're looking for 'potholes' in the economy, there aren't a lot out there

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Yahoo Finance

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon is upbeat on global economic growth, particularly in the U.S.

“If you’re looking for potholes, there are not a lot of things out there and growth is accelerating,” Dimon said on a conference call in response to a question from Wells Fargo bank analyst Mike Mayo about the state of the economy.

Mayo asked JPMorgan’s management how they’re thinking about the 10-year bond yield, which he noted has “flashed warning signs to a variety of parties” and how the bank is planning for a flatter yield curve.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, speaks about investing in Detroit during a panel discussion at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, speaks about investing in Detroit during a panel discussion at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

While it’s getting late in this economic cycle, there’s still a lot of positive data, Dimon noted.

“There’s a lot of evidence that there’s slack in the system … Finally, people are going back to the workforce. The consumer balance sheet is in good shape. Capital expenditures are going up. Household formation is going up. Homebuilding is in short supply. It is the banking system that’s very, very healthy compared to the past. Consumer confidence and business confidence are very high, albeit off their highs probably because of something like trade,” Dimon said.

Dimon said that he’s not worried about the 10-year bond, which can also go up in a healthy environment. “In history, we’ve had rates going up where we’ve had a healthy environment. It’s not always true that the 10-year going up is bad,” said Dimon. “We try to manage those risks. We want more clients. In almost every business we’re in, we want to do a very good job for them in products and services.”

Earlier on the call, JPMorgan’s CFO, Marianne Lake, acknowledged that growth over the last decade has been lower through the recovery. However, she said, there’s still “plenty of room to play.”

“As we look at economic data, not just here in the U.S., but also globally, there are no real signs of fragility,” she added.

As for the flattening yield curve, she noted that the current bear flattening is “good … from a bank profitability perspective and not [because there is] some looming risk of a recession embedded in it,” Lake said. She acknowledged that it’s a cyclical business, and that when it turns, they will be prepared.

China is a long-term play

Later on the call, while being asked about the firm’s expansion plans in China, Dimon circled back to the economy.

“I’m going to make a broader business point for a second … We really didn’t answer Mike Mayo’s question. You don’t run the business guessing about when there might be a recession because we know there’s going to be one,” he said.

As for the investment in China, it’s a long-term play. JPMorgan has applied for licenses and will need permission from regulators in China and the U.S.

“We’re not looking for any immediate thing,” Dimon said. “[In] the next 12 years or so, China will — internal market, think of their bond market, stock markets — probably [be] very close [or] equal to the size of the United States of America. Therefore, we want to be able to do everything we do here [in the U.S.] in China.”

On Friday, JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank by assets, reported record results, delivering earnings per share of $2.29 versus analysts’ estimates of $2.23 per share. Revenue for the second quarter came in at $28.39 billion beating analysts’ estimates of $27.34 billion.

Breaking it down further, revenue from FICC trading came in at $3.5 billion, up 12% compared to the same period a year ago. Revenue from equity sales and trading came in at $2.0 billion, which was up 24% compared to a year ago. The bank also posted $2.0 billion in revenue from investment banking, up 13% from the same period a year ago.

Shares of JPMorgan closed down 0.46%.

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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