JPMorgan's profit proves that Wall Street's titans still rule

Just a year ago, Wall Street's survival seemed far from assured. Titans of finance like Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers had disappeared, and even the strongest of those left standing, including JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS), took billions of dollars in government assistance to bolster their balance sheets. The era of wild -- and lucrative -- financial risk-taking was supposed to be over.

The Wall Street Journal even dubbed the final days before Lehman's collapse "the weekend that Wall Street died." Now, of course, it seems that rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated -- and the proof is in the profits. JPMorgan's $3.6 billion in net income last quarter, powered by investment banking revenue that rose 85 percent from a year ago, shows that the biggest banks can still make tons of money.