Going in to the biggest day for earnings this January, four U.S. banking companies Friday reported profits that met Wall Street's expectations, fueled by strong growth in revenues from capital markets and other fee income businesses.

Still, analysts continued to be cautious about their expectations for the banking sector, having been burned last year by successive profit warnings by some of the biggest U.S. banking companies. One of those companies, First Union Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., Friday reported a 2% decline in fourth-quarter profits, to $842 million or 86 cents a share, from a year earlier.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.