By Bloomberg
January 16, 2019

The six biggest U.S. banks have never had a $100 billion year. Until now.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and their peers have already reported more than $111 billion of profit for 2018. Morgan Stanley will only make that number bigger when it releases its fourth-quarter results Thursday.

They have Republican tax cuts to thank, along with rising interest rates, a surge in dealmaking and a retail-banking boom.

JPMorgan and Bank of America Corp. both had record years, while Goldman Sachs and Citigroup Inc. had their biggest hauls since the financial crisis. The impressive numbers and upbeat commentary from bank leaders may quell fears that rate hikes and trade wars risk bringing an end to good times for the biggest lenders.

“Is it the end of a cycle? We don’t think so,” JPMorgan Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake said Tuesday on a call with analysts. “We think the outlook for growth in the economy is still strong. The consumer is still strong and healthy, and we’re expecting to see, maybe slower, but still global growth going forward.”

The KBW Bank Index has gained 10 percent this month, spurred higher by fourth-quarter results. The 24-member index plunged 20 percent in 2018, the worst performance in seven years.

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