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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.

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — considered the world's largest by volume. Park officials wrapped the trees in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. And officials said early Sunday protection efforts appeared to be working.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. drone strike victims' families in Afghanistan seek compensation

A relative of Ezmarai Ahmadi, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike, looks at the wreckage of a vehicle that was damaged in the strike in the Kwaja Burga neighbourhood of Kabul on Saturday. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi AFP via Getty Images

Relatives of 10 Afghans killed by a U.S. drone strike in Kabul last month said Saturday they want to see punishment and compensation over the deaths.

Driving the news: The relatives said it's "good news" that the U.S. had "officially admitted" that "they had attacked innocents" in the Aug. 29 strike that killed Zamarai Ahmadi, an aid worker with a U.S.-based group, and nine family members, but they still need "justice," per AFP.

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