Even if it occasionally costs $25 billion or so, it's good to be a big bank.

That seemed to be the lesson Tuesday at JPMorgan Chase (JPM), which shrugged off its most recent round of eye-popping settlement costs to report a $5.3 billion fourth-quarter profit. While revenue and net income fell, and few of its core businesses showed robust growth, the biggest bank in the country was able to reach into its large and diversified operations to offset a new $1.1 billion in legal expenses and to report the recurring profits that assuage most investors' concerns about the bank's manifold regulatory troubles.

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