JPMorgan profit surges on huge trading, investment banking boost

April 14 (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co reported substantially higher first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, as the largest U.S. bank released more reserves and was aided by a blowout quarter from its trading desks and soaring investment banking fees.

JPMorgan, widely seen as a barometer of the health of the broader U.S. economy, was also helped by favorable comparisons to last year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the bank to build reserves against the risk of a wave of loan defaults.

Net income rose to $14.3 billion, or $4.50 per share, in the quarter ended March 31, from $2.9 billion, or 78 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $3.10 per share, according to Refinitiv. (Reporting by Anirban Sen in Bengaluru and Elizabeth Dilts in New York; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)