JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) released their first-quarter earnings, which showed that they had recovered from a poor fourth quarter in 2011. The easing of fears about the European debt crisis gave investors and companies more confidence to return to fixed-income and equities markets, according to Reuters.

Terril & Co.'s Joe Terril said, in response to the 24% jump in revenue from the previous quarter, "It tells me there's more economic activity, maybe, than what we were previously thinking -- more demand for credit, more demand for banking services, more business out there." Business for the financial giant is recovering, though its net income is still down 3% from the same quarter last year due to higher expenses.

Investors this week were not necessarily satisfied with the signs of a slowly improving economy, and while JPMorgan's numbers did some to reassure them. Their earnings results could put pressure and raise expectations for competitors like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and Citigroup, which will be reporting earnings next week.


Business section: Investing ideas
If Wall Street banks continue to show positive results from the first quarter, it could show further strength in the recovery of our economy. Below is a list of financial stocks that have returned over 20% year to date. Do you think they can keep running up?

The list sorted by market cap. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. JPMorgan Chase: Provides various financial services worldwide. It has a market cap of $165.17 billion. The stock has gained 31.74% year to date. TTM gross margin is at 80.89% vs. the industry average of 64.62%. TTM operating margin is at 46.58% vs. industry average of 40.27%.TTM pre-tax margin is at 24.13% vs. industry average of 18.47%.

2. Discover Financial Services (NYS: DFS) : Operates as a credit card issuer and electronic payment services company primarily in the United States. It has a market cap of $17.44 billion. The stock has gained 37.44% year to date. TTM gross margin is at 50.94% vs. the industry average of 34.59%. TTM operating margin is at 49.89% vs. the industry average of 31.63%.TTM pre-tax margin stands at 44.05% vs. the industry average of 25.51%.

3. SVB Financial Group (NAS: SIVB) : Operates as a bank and financial holding company that provides commercial banking and financial products and services. It has a market cap of $2.69 billion. The stock has gained 28.69% year to date. TTM gross margin stands at 95.23% vs. the industry average of 72.51%. TTM operating margin stands at 54.24% vs. the industry average of 39.97%.TTM pre-tax margin is at 42.4% vs. the industry average of 22.51%.

4. Protective Life (NYS: PL) : The company and its subsidiaries engage in the production, distribution, and administration of insurance and investment products in the United States. It has a market cap of $2.52 billion. The stock has gained 25.14% year to date. TTM gross margin stands at 17.57% vs. the industry average of 14.17%. TTM operating margin is at 17.57% vs. the industry average of 11.28%.TTM pre-tax margin stands at 14.42% vs. the industry average of 8.58%.

5. Symetra Financial (NYS: SYA) : Operates as a financial services company in the life insurance industry in the United States. It has a market cap of $1.3 billion. The stock has gained 21.31% year to date. TTM gross margin stands at 15.56% vs. the industry average of 14.17%. TTM operating margin stands at 15.56% vs. the industry average of 11.28%.TTM pre-tax margin is at 13.96% vs. the industry average of 8.58%.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.

At the time this article was published Kapitall's Danny Guttridge does not own any of the shares mentioned above. Profitability data sourced from Fidelity. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Goldman Sachs. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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