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Data: Analysis of company filings; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic helped to pull big banks’ bond trading revenue out of a multi-year slump.

Why it matters: Revenue within the so-called fixed income, currency and commodity (FICC) divisions has been slowing for years.

By the numbers: Revenues across bond trading desks at Goldman Sachs, Citi, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and Bank of America collectively rose to roughly $68 billion in 2020 — the highest level in at least 10 years, according to an Axios analysis of company filings.

  • Goldman Sachs said FICC revenues rose 57% compared to 2019, helped by a record level of financing revenues.
  • Morgan Stanley said its desk posted the highest revenues in over a decade.

What happened: Trading volume surged after investors rushed into safe-haven assets as the coronavirus hit financial markets. The Fed’s intervention in credit markets also boosted investment banks.

Yes, but: Bond trading activity slowed for some players like Bank of America in the last quarter of the year, as Bloomberg notes.

  • What they’re saying: Strong credit trading "was more than offset by declines across most macro products and mortgage trading," Paul Donofrio, BofA's bank's chief financial officer, told analysts this week.

Other banks missed analysts' high expectations: Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan were the only big banks to top Wall Street’s FICC forecasts.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

Senate panel to hold hearing after high-flying Reddit stocks cause Wall Street chaos

Major trading platforms including Robinhood, TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers are restricting — or cutting off entirely — trading on high-flying stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment.

The latest: Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) announced Thursday that he plans to hold a hearing on "the current state of the stock market" in response to this week's volatility.

36 mins ago - Health

Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific COVID vaccine

A health worker in Palestine preparing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 24. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Tuesday that they have started clinical trials for a reformulated vaccine to protect against the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Why it matters: The rise of the Omicron variant has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines.

Retail stock traders power stunning comeback after deep selloff

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Stocks staged a Patrick Mahomes-esque comeback Monday, after plunging for the first few hours of trading.

Why it matters: The remarkable recovery suggests that retail traders who upended markets over the last year — most notably during the GameStop bonanza that occurred almost exactly a year ago — continue to be powerful influence in the markets.

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