John Foley is Reuters Breakingviews' U.S. editor. He has previously written and edited from London, Beijing and Hong Kong, and established Breakingviews’ first Asian bureau in 2009, subsequently running the European team from 2015 to 2017. Before joining Breakingviews in 2004, John worked as a copywriter for a London-based advertising agency. He read English Literature at Exeter College, Oxford.
James Gorman’s bank did worse than rivals last quarter, delivering only a 7.1 pct annualized ROE. Fixed-income revenue slumped and lending losses made things worse. Morgan Stanley’s valuation premium is partly because it’s supposed to be more stable. That logic just took a knock.
Its fourth-quarter earnings beat estimates and it navigated rocky markets better than peers. Yet investors value its assets less highly than those of staid Bank of America. Taming Goldman’s volatile revenue is in hand. The shadow of excesses like 1MDB is harder to manage away.
Wells Fargo, JPMorgan and Citi all started 2018 with the gift of lower taxes. Fourth-quarter earnings show the similarities end there. Treasury largesse propped up Citi and Wells, accounting for most of their underlying growth. JPMorgan gave back most, and needed the help least.