Chase Manhattan Corp., the
third-biggest U.S. bank holding company, said on Wednesday its
fourth-quarter operating profits jumped 46 percent to $1.68
billion, well beyond Wall Street's forecasts, driven by
investment banking fees and investments in start-up companies.
Chase earned $1.97 in the quarter, up from to $1.31 a share,
or $1.15 billion, in the same quarter in 1998. Many
multinational commercial and investment banks' profits slumped
late in 1998, because of unprecedented economic turmoil in
emerging markets, but Chase fared better than others because of
strong currency trading and investments in start-up companies.
Operating results exclude the impact of credit card
securitizations, restructuring costs and special items. On a net
basis, Chase earned $1.69 billion in the fourth quarter,
compared to $1.15 billion a year ago.
The bank also said its board authorized the repurchase of up
to $5 billion of its common stock.
Wall Street had expected the New York-based bank to earn
$1.32 a share in its fourth quarter, according to tracking
service First Call/Thomson Financial.
Soaring U.S. stock prices, the result of a nine-year
economic expansion here, as well as investors' hunger for new
stock offerings, particularly from technology companies, and a
global boom in merger deals lifted results at the big banks and
Wall Street brokers in the fourth quarter.
Chase's global bank booked revenues of $3.21 billion in the
quarter, up 46 percent from last year. Private equity-related
investment gains were $1.31 billion, up from $244 million in the
fourth quarter of 1998, while investment banking fees rose 31
percent to $499 million.