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Big Bank Stocks to Watch in Q1 Earnings: BAC, WFC, C, PNC

As JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM commenced the Q1 earning season today with a positive surprise, focus remains on other major banks including Bank of America Corporation BAC, Wells Fargo & Company WFC, Citigroup Inc. C and The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. PNC who are next in reporting results this week.

Though the first quarter is usually strong for the banking sector, this year, it has been tough. Performance will largely reflect how the banks faced the number of issues including the slowdown of the Chinese economy, the continued volatility in commodity prices and the low, sometimes even negative interest rates environment.

Notably, per our Earnings Preview report, overall earnings for the Finance sector in first-quarter 2016 are expected to be down 10.7%.

While JPMorgan witnessed an expected decline in trading revenues, it also recorded a whopping rise in provisions tied with energy as well as metal and mining portfolios. Will others major banks follow suit? Let’s have a look at what is in store for them.

Bank of America Corporation is slated to release first-quarter 2016 results on Thursday, Apr 14. BofA may witness a slump in trading revenues in the first quarter. Also, given the significant exposure in energy-sector lending (4.6% of total commercial credit exposure as of Dec 31, 2015), BofA is likely to record a rise in provision for loan losses in the quarter.

However, on a positive note, the company is anticipated to record negligible legal charges. Given its cost-savings plan, expenses should remain stable. Read more: Will a Challenging Backdrop Hurt BofA Q1 Earnings?)

Wells Fargo & Company is scheduled to report first-quarter 2016 results on Thursday, Apr 14. Volatility is likely to affect investment banking and trading, retail, brokerage, asset management and trust revenues. Soured loans in energy sector are likely to hurt the company’s credit quality.

However, the company is expected to benefit in the quarter from addition of assets of GE Capital. Also, strength in mortgage banking should contribute to the revenue growth. (Read more: What's in Store for Wells Fargo This Earnings Season?)

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. is scheduled to report first-quarter results before the opening bell on Thursday, Apr 14, 2016. The company is anticipated to record higher net interest income as well as a modest growth in period end loans.

However, fee income is expected to decline, driven by seasonality and generally subdued client activity in the first quarter. Regarding exposure in the energy sector, performance of certain energy related loans during the first quarter might lead to the provisions at the high end of $75–$125 million. (Read more: Will PNC Financial Earnings Lag on Lower Fee Income?)

Citigroup Inc. which will report its first quarter results on Friday, Apr 15, 2016, is expected to post 15% decline in trading revenues affected by elevated volatility. Also due to less issuance of debt and equity, investment banking revenues is expected to plunge 25% year over year.

The New York based-bank delivered earnings beats in the trailing four quarters with an average earnings surprise of 5.06%. However, our quantitative model doesn’t call for an earnings beat this time. (Read more: Will Lower Trading Revenue Drag Citi's Q1 Earnings?)

Given the downward trend in earnings estimate revisions over the last few weeks, current figures look pretty conservative. Hence, any of the above banks pulling an earnings surprise should not sound unusual. However, irrespective of an earnings beat or miss, investors should focus on the companies’ fundamentals.

Stay tuned! Check later on our full write-up on earnings releases of these stocks.

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JPMORGAN CHASE (JPM): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
PNC FINL SVC CP (PNC): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
WELLS FARGO-NEW (WFC): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CITIGROUP INC (C): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
BANK OF AMER CP (BAC): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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