Bank Earnings Look Good, but Not for Long

Bank earnings are looking pretty good. Barclays (BCS) announced that it made over $18 billion in 2009. Goldman Sachs (GS) had record profits. JP Morgan (JPM) results were better than expected.

Barclays' numbers were driven by assets it bought from Lehman Bros. and sharp improvements at its investment bank. But results from its retail bank operation were weak. So were numbers from its commercial loans. The bank still faces write-offs of leveraged assets on its books. In short, Barclays faces the same problems as most large American financial firms, which could make for a rocky 2010.