JPMorgan just set the bar for the rest of Wall Street

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Jamie Dimon

Scott Gries/Invision/AP

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon.

JPMorgan reported first-quarter earnings on Wednesday that weren't as bad as expected, and it sets the bar for the rest of Wall Street.

The firm announced earnings per share of $1.35 ($1.24 expected) on revenue of $24.08 billion ($23.80 billion expected).

A solid beat - and it comes after a quarter that was expected to be disastrous.

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The first quarter is typically the strongest for investment banks, but analysts had been expecting an unusually weak Q1 earnings season on Wall Street this year.

Choppy trading conditions in early 2016, fears over China's growth, and a collapsed oil price are thought to have created a "perfect storm" for banks.

Investment banking revenue is down 36% across the Street, according to preliminary Q1 data from Dealogic - its lowest level since 2009. More on that here.

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So, while JPMorgan's earnings - and its revenues in all the major divisions - were down significantly from the same quarter a year ago, the fact that it beat expectations is a pretty good start.

If it had disappointed, there's a chance the other banks may have too. Now there's a possibility that banks could outperform.

Of course, the fact that JPMorgan beat expectations does not guarantee that the others will too, but it does at least set a more positive tone as we start bank earnings season.

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Bank of America and Wells Fargo will report fourth-quarter earnings at 6:45 a.m. and 8 a.m., respectively, Thursday.