Bank Stock Roundup: Fed Meeting, Job Cuts Dominate Headlines; BofA, Citi & JPMorgan In Focus

Over the last five trading sessions, the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting dominated headlines. Keeping the rates unchanged (as expected by the market), the Fed lowered its projected rate to 0.875% by the end of this year from the prior estimate of 1.375%.

This indicates that only two rate hikes are likely during the course of this year. Further, this removed ambiguity over the Fed’s next course of action that prevailed in the market since the beginning of 2016.

Nevertheless, banks will continue to be adversely impacted by a low-rate environment which is not expected to change any time soon. This will hamper both top-line and bottom-line growth.

In order to overcome the challenging operating backdrop, banks are taking measures to remain profitable. One such way is by slashing jobs at less profitable units. With dismal performance at trading and investment banking units expected to continue, banks intend to trim workforce in these divisions.

(Read: Bank Stock Roundup for the week ending Mar 11, 2016)

Recap of the Week’s Major Developments:

1. Bank of America Corp. (BAC – Analyst Report) has eliminated at least 15 senior bankers at its Asia investment-banking unit last week, according to a Bloomberg report. The report cited unidentified sources who stated that the dismissed employees include 3 managing directors and 12 directors (read more: BofA Lays off Senior Bankers at Asia Investment-Banking Unit).

Other major bank Citigroup Inc. (C – Analyst Report) is also mulling job cuts at its fixed-income and equities trading units, as per a CNBC report. However, the final number of job cuts will depend on the company’s earnings performance in the first quarter of 2016 (read more: Citigroup Mulling Job Cuts, Numbers to Base on Q1 Results).

2. Breaking up banks into smaller entities has again come under the spot light with an activist shareholder, Bartlett Collins Naylor urging shareholders of Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM – Analyst Report) to vote in favor of breaking up these big banks. Later this year, shareholders of these two banking giants will get to vote on whether these banks should consider splintering into smaller entities (read more: ”Break Up the Big Banks” Debate Resurfaces Again).

3. JPMorgan has been meaningfully deploying capital with an aim to enhance its shareholders’ value. The company has announced additional share buyback authorization of $1.88 billion through the second quarter of 2016.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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