NEW YORK – It's been a scandal-filled few months for banks.
JPMorgan Chase revealed a $2 billion trading loss, triggering an investigation by the government and hearings in Congress. Then the large banks were implicated in a global dust-up over interest rate manipulation.
All this happened amid signs of a slowdown in the U.S. and Chinese economies and a debt crisis in Europe, which won't help the banks as they report their financial results for April through June.
All eyes will be on JPMorgan on Friday, when it becomes the first bank to report. The trading loss rattled the company's stock price and hurt both its reputation and that of CEO Jamie Dimon, who is expected to provide an update.
JPMorgan, the country's largest bank, has scheduled a conference call with analysts to start at 7:30 a.m., two hours before the stock market opens. The call usually happens at 9 a.m. The bank has also doubled the length of the call, to two hours.
Besides its usual presenters, Dimon and chief financial officer Douglas Braunstein, the bank will also have Mike Cavanaugh available to answer questions. Cavanaugh leads a team of senior executives overseeing the loss.
Analysts aren't expected to give the company a pass.
"We expect a detailed account of what went wrong, what has changed and what is remaining," says Jason Goldberg, a bank analyst at Barclays Capital, a global investment bank.
Goldberg, like most investors and analysts, has no idea how deep JPMorgan's loss is. He said it could range from $2 billion to $9 billion. JPMorgan has said it lost the money trying to hedge against financial risk.
JPMorgan's stock has been pummeled, falling from $40.74 before the announcement of the trading loss on May 10 to about $34.59 on Wednesday.
Other bank stocks have also been dragged down because of uncertainty over how Europe is handling its debt crisis, the recession that has gripped some countries there and economic slowdowns in China and India.
Those worries have led to fewer corporate deals, such as mergers and acquisitions, which require Wall Street help and provide much-needed fees for the big banks.
Companies are also putting their growth strategies on ice, which means they are raising less money on Wall Street to pursue their strategies. That translates to lower fees, too.
Most analysts have recently reduced earnings estimates for banks and also downgraded several stocks. Goldberg cut profit estimates for JPMorgan twice during the quarter, and reduced Bank of America's by 3 cents and Citigroup's by 19 cents.
Here's what to expect from major banks. Expectations are compiled from analysts surveyed FactSet, a provider of financial data.
— Reports: Friday.
— Forecast: Profit of 76 cents per share on revenue of $21.8 billion.
— What to watch for: Despite its trading loss, the bank is expected to report a profit for the quarter. Investors are more interested in what the bank has to say about the trading loss, which has given bank management sleepless nights and sent heads rolling. Bank analyst David Konrad at brokerage Keefe, Bruyette & Woods says clarity will be key. "Management's ability to get the transaction behind the bank is more important than the actual size of the loss," Konrad says.
— Reports: Friday.
— Forecast: Profit of 81 cents per share on revenue of $21.3 billion.
— What to watch for: Wells is expected to benefit from record low mortgage rates, high refinancing and improved housing sales in the past three months. Because of its focus on basic banking offerings such as mortgages, Wells is also shielded from poor performance of investment banking divisions at other large banks.
— Reports: Monday.
— Forecast: Profit of 89 cents per share on revenue of $18.9 billion.
— What to watch for: Citi is the most global bank and is a large underwriter of debt and equity. The global economic slowdown and uncertainty is expected to hurt Citi's business and also reduce the fees that it can collect from helping corporations with their financial markets transactions.
— Reports: Tuesday.
— Forecast: Profit of $1.28 per share on revenue of $6.4 billion.
— What to watch for: Goldman's primary business is investment banking. It advises corporations on strategies such as acquisitions and helps clients like pension funds make big trades. Both of those areas were slow in the past three months. Analyst David Trone at brokerage firm JPM Securities reduced his estimates for Goldman's earnings by 24 cents per share. He expects trading revenue at Goldman to plunge 28 percent.
BANK OF AMERICA
— Reports: Wednesday, July 18.
— Forecast: Profit of 16 cents per share on revenue of $22.7 billion.
— What to watch for: More cost-cutting. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said last September that the bank would cut 30,000 jobs to save $5 billion a year by 2014. With slow economic growth in the U.S. and abroad and new laws banning certain fees, bankers seem to have run out of ideas to grow. Barclays analyst Goldberg says the bank's cost-cutting plan, dubbed New BAC, is just a fancy name to make up for "less than desired" growth in its revenue.
— Reports: Thursday, July 19.
— Forecast: Profit of 34 cents per share on revenue of $7.7 billion.
— What to watch for: Morgan Stanley, like Citi and Goldman, is vulnerable to weaker sales and trading of bonds and shares.