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JP Morgan's first-quarter earnings up 55%

JP Morgan has reported a 55 per cent increase in earnings for the first quarter.

Net income for the third-largest US bank stood at $4.8 billion or $1.34 per share, up from $3.1 billion, or $0.86 per share, for the same period last year.

The record results mean the bank exceeded expectations of Wall Street analysts, who had anticipated earnings of $1.02 per share.

Gains were made throughout the company's divisions but chief among the driving factors in the improved performance was its investment banking wing, which posted an 81 per cent rise in profit to $1.54 billion.

Meanwhile, a strong showing in the private equity investment sector contributed to its corporate bank turning a $366 million loss last year into a $631 profit.

However, as the crisis in the US subprime market continues to deepen, the bank's retail banking interests performed sluggishly, as the bank was forced to up its funds set aside for credit losses from $207 million to $292 million.