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Big 4 in Q2 — Brexit headwind provides FICC breeze

hogged the second-quarterspotlight — and that after a rough start to the year and another delay in . Yet the largest U.S.banks performed well enough during the period to leave industry observersfeeling "really good," as Lisa Kwasnowski of DBRS put it, especiallyabout their survival skills amid global uncertainty.

The full effect of a U.K. outsidethe EU has yet to be determined, but, in these early days at least, it hasresulted in a spike in trading. RBC Capital Markets' analysts calculate thatrevenues from fixed income, currencies and commodities jumped year over year by14% for , 22%for Bank of America Corp.and 35% for JPMorgan Chase &Co.

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Bottom lines were down, nonetheless. Citi and BofA, inparticular, saw year-over-year drops in EPS and operating revenue. The two havestruggled to right their ships post-crisis, though Kwasnowski said in aninterview that both have made headway. Citi still has its bad bank, CitiHoldings, which has shrank to $66billion in assets.

At BofA, legacy assets were finally small enough not tomerit separate reporting, and the company announced it has found evenmore . The bank reportednoninterest expenses of $13.49 billion, a drop of 8% from the linked quarter.Rafferty Capital Markets' Dick Bove pointed out in a note: "It isoften forgotten how big and successful Bank of America has been of late." Oppenheimer's Chris Kotowskicommented in a note that "the noise isdying down and … it is no longer a great leap of faith to envision an improvingtrend in 2017."

Based on the 2016 stresstest and ,regulators seem to agree.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo & Co.grew operating revenue from year-ago levels. While the low-rate environmentremains a drag on net interest margins, it seems to at least have successfullystimulated lending. In the 12 months to June 30, JPMorgan grew net loans by10% and Wells grewits by 7%.

Underwriting has stayed tight and overall loan lossprovisions have declined. At Citigroup, it tumbled 38% from a high of $2.26billion in the last quarter of 2015. The other three saw quarter-over-quarterdecreases, and JPMorgan's and Wells' were well above their net charge-offs.

"Whenone considers how massive the dislocation in energy and metals marketshas been … the big takeaway is howsurprisingly little fallout from it there was," Oppenheimer's Kotowskiwrote. "It is to us another sign ofhow much banks have de-risked their balance sheets."

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