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How Wall Street Reflects the Economy Biden Inherits

January 21, 2021

What big banks reveal about the economy

America’s biggest banks have all now released their financial results for the past year, data that reflect the strange economic situation facing President Biden and his new administration. Parts of the economy are booming, others are at a standstill and the outlook is extraordinarily uncertain.

Wall Street’s core business is booming. Goldman Sachs’s trading operation reported its highest annual revenue in a decade, a factor that helped the bank more than double its fourth-quarter profit. JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley also reported big jumps in their investment banking and trading units after a huge year for bond issues, I.P.O.s and M.&A. deals.

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