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J.P. Morgan Reports Lower Profit In Fourth Quarter
NEW YORK — J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc., the nation's fourth largest banking company, said on Tuesday its fourth-quarter profits tumbled by two-thirds from a year earlier, yet still beat Wall Street estimates amid one-time charges related to layoffs and cost cutting.

J.P. Morgan reported income of $89 million, or 42 cents a share in the fourth quarter, down from $271 million, or $1.33 a share, in the year-earlier period. The 42 cents a share was better than the 38 cents a share expected by Wall Street analysts surveyed by First Call Corp.

The bank, which has been eliminating jobs in recent months following market turmoil and losses, said lower results from emerging markets and trading the bank did for its own account, as well as credit loss provisions, hurt revenues in the fourth quarter and offset growth in other areas.

J.P. Morgan's revenues fell 10 percent in the fourth quarter to $1.504 billion as revenues from equity investments and proprietary investing and trading dropped to $214 million in the quarter from $399 million a year earlier. Credit loss provisions and changes in the bank's credit strategy also offset higher loan syndication revenues, it said.

"The market crisis in the second half hurt the year's results," J.P. Morgan Chairman Douglas Warner III said in a statement. "We nevertheless saw solid advances in investment banking, equities and asset management, a recovery of market activities at the end of the year and progress on credit and productivity initiatives..." The bank's advisory and underwriting revenues rose 29 percent in the fourth quarter to $349 million while market making revenues rose to $638 million from $453 million. J.P. Morgan also said its exposure in Latin America and Asia were 40 percent and 50 percent lower than at the end of 1997, respectively.

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