Wall Street's financial powerhouses JPMorgan and BlackRock have reported bumper third-quarter profits despite the pandemic triggering an economic downturn that has left many households significantly poorer.
JP Morgan, America's biggest bank, beat analyst estimates with profits of $9.4bn (£7.2bn), up 4pc on a year ago following a boom in trading. It also added just $611m to its war chest for loans that could go unpaid, down from $10.5bn three months earlier.
A brutal April-June quarter sent the US economy contracting by a record 9.4pc, forcing American banks to put more than $33bn (£25bn) aside to cover for potentially toxic loans.
However, a recovery in the US economy in the third quarter meant that banks were likely to hold off on increasing loan loss provisions.
Meanwhile BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, also exceeded analyst estimates after reporting a near 30pc rise in profit to $1.4bn for the quarter, while its assets under management ballooned to a record $7.8 trillion.
Chairman Larry Fink said he believed stock markets would rise. US shares have hit new heights amid the pandemic, mainly due to the record levels of stimulus the Federal Reserve has pumped into the economy.
JP Morgan and BlackRock's bumper results emerged as the International Monetary Fund warned that Covid will blow a $28 trillion (£21 trillion) hole in the world economy by 2025, leaving the entire world significantly poorer. The shortfall compared to pre-coronavirus forecasts amounts to a loss of around $3,500 per person over five years.
Citigroup reported better than expected third quarter results as it put aside significantly less for potential loan losses, although profits still fell 34pc to £3.2bn compared with the same period last year.
US rivals Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs report their third quarter results on Wednesday, while Britain's biggest banks do so later this month.