Analysts hurried to cut their 2001 earnings estimates on Bank One Corp. Thursday in the wake of its chairman and chief executives warning that it would not meet the Streets second-quarter earnings expectations.
Citing eroding credit quality and a slowdown in revenues, Jamie Dimon said Tuesday that his companys earnings for the three months will probably be about even with the first quarters figures of $679 million, or 58 cents a share. Despite analysts estimate reductions, the Chicago companys stock managed to hold its own, with many on Wall Street still backing Mr. Dimons restructuring plan. Joseph Duwan, an analyst at Conning & Co., said Tuesdays guidance prompted him to lower his second-quarter earnings estimate on Bank One to 59 cents from 61 cents a share and lowered his outlook for the year to $2.55 from $2.50.
But he has not made any changes to his 2002 estimate of $3 a share. And Catherine L. Murray, an analyst at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., raised her 2002 estimate on Bank One to $2.93 a share, saying she expects improved capital markets.
Mr. Duwan said: There have been a lot of positive developments at Bank One, and theyre obviously well ahead of cost savings. But the question mark remains on credit.
Its stock seems to be holding up well and by Thursday had fallen a modest 2% from Tuesdays close, when it ended the session at $39.05. And Mr. Duwan predicts that Bank Ones stock price will probably stabilize at $35 to $40. It will trade in this narrow range until there is evidence that there is a change, he said.
On Thursday Bank One shares fell 1.8% from Wednesdays close. Other analysts trimmed their estimates Thursday, among them Frederick A. Cummings at McDonald Investments Inc. He lowered his second-quarter estimate to 58 cents from 64 cents a share and his full-year estimate to $2.45 from $2.65.
This is a disappointment, Mr. Cummings said. At the start of the year the company said earnings would be anywhere from $2.90 to $3 per share. Theyre clearly not getting there.
He said Bank One would be lucky to reach $2.50 a share by yearend. At the start of this year we were more optimistic that earnings would begin to rebound, but I dont think that is the case.
Ms. Murray at J.P. Morgan cut her second-quarter earnings estimate on Bank One to 61 cents a share from 66 cents and her full-year estimate to $2.53 a share from $2.75. But she said she did not expect it to fall below first-quarter levels.
But many analysts say they remain impressed by the efforts that Mr. Dimon and his management team have made since the first quarter to rid Bank One of less-profitable relationships and sell off problem loans in order to reduce credit exposure.
But they also remain doubtful that the company will post higher second-quarter revenues.
Bank Ones paring back of its loan portfolio may improve the long-term risk profile but will probably result in modest asset growth and, in turn, disappointing second-half results, Mr. Cummings said. Revenue growth is its biggest challenge for the rest of 2001, he said.