JPMorgan profit hit by Madoff

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JPMorgan Chase & Co posted a 7.3 percent decline in quarterly profit on Tuesday, as legal woes and weak demand for investment banking services capped off a tough year for Chief Executive Jamie Dimon.

The largest U.S. bank had $1.1 billion of legal expenses in the fourth quarter, about $850 million of which was linked to a recent settlement for failing to report its suspicions of fraud at its client Bernard Madoff’s fund.

The bank agreed to some $20 billion of legal settlements in 2013 – almost equal to a typical year’s profit – which covered everything from mortgages it packaged into bonds before the financial crisis, to bad derivatives trades it made in 2012.

Dimon said some investigations into JPMorgan are just beginning, implying that legal issues are likely to dog the bank for some time, even if on a smaller scale.

Legal headaches aside, the bank faces headwinds in businesses ranging from debt underwriting to advising companies on mergers. Rising bond yields are cutting into demand for issuing debt, and new rules designed to make the financial system safer are also cutting into trading volumes.

Investment banking fee revenue dropped 3 percent to $1.67 billion, and stock and bond trading revenue combined was unchanged before accounting adjustments.

Shares of JPMorgan were up 0.3 percent at $57.86 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Chase Franklin International Tokyo News: shares gain 1.37 percent in opening trade

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Tokyo shares opened higher Monday, tracking a Wall Street rally on Friday driven by strong US jobs data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.37 percent, or 193.42 points, to 14,280.22 shortly after the opening bell.

The market also won support from the weaker yen as the dollar edged up in currency markets to 99.16 yen, from 99.04 yen in New York Friday.

Tokyo’s rise came after the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at a fresh record of 15,761.78, up 1.08 percent, fuelled by stronger-than-expected jobs data.

The world’s biggest economy added 204,000 jobs in October, double what analysts forecast.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 1.34 percent, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite added 1.60 percent.

The figures raised the likelihood that the Federal Reserve would wind down its stimulus drive sooner than later. The central bank has said it would start reeling back on its bond-buying — credited with propping up global equity markets — once the economy shows firms signs of recovery.

“Equity sentiment remains generally strong globally — enough so to resist the fear of Fed tapering for now,” said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.

“Hopes for more robust economic growth in the world’s largest economy should support confidence in a broad sense, while the weaker-yen factor in particular should buoy Japan shares for today,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government announced shortly before the opening bell that the nation’s current account — Japan’s broadest measure of trade with the rest of the world — logged a September surplus of 587.3 billion yen ($5.9 billion), marking the eighth straight month of black ink.

Japan has earned hefty returns from decades of investments overseas, making up for a tepid export picture and surging energy import costs.

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