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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.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
45 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Democrats' hypocrisy moment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. And it's not a close call.

Why it matters: The #MeToo moment saw men in power run out of town for exploiting young women. Democrats led the charge. So the silence of so many of them seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour.

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