JPMorgan Chase Shines In Otherwise Ugly Financial Sector

Of course, a shining performance is all relative when we are talking about the banking sector right now, but still, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) has really navigated this rough environment well so far. I don’t own the stock, but certainly wouldn’t mind being a shareholder right now. This morning the company reported that 2007 earnings rose 15% to $4.38 per share. Fourth quarter numbers were down sharply, not surprisingly, but overall the company is faring much better than competitors like Citigroup (C).

Not only does JPM have much less CDO and sub-prime mortgage exposure, but their credit card portfolio is holding up very well too. Their credit standards clearly have been more conservative than other players. For the fourth quarter, card delinquencies reached 3.5%, up from 3.1% in the prior year, and net charge-offs were 3.9%, versus 3.5% in 2006. While these figures did rise year-over-year, they remain very low for the industry, where many are reporting figures above 5% in recent months.

JPMorgan’s management team, as well as their shareholders for betting on CEO Jamie Dimon, should be congratulated for posting a 15% increase in 2007 earnings per share. There are few banks out there that will be able to claim that feat when earnings season is over later this month. The stock, meanwhile, yields nearly 4% and trades at less than 10 times earnings. The shares will likely continue to outperform their peers going forward.

Full Disclosure: No position in C or JPM at the time of writing