JPMorgan and Citi have already made half a billion dollars selling puts, spokespeople decline to comment

(Bloomberg) — The historic panic in global stock markets has spawned a fortune for some of the world’s biggest investment banks.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. have added about $500 million in revenue from equity derivatives trading year-to-date compared with the same period in 2019, people familiar with the matter said. Trading surged as investors rushed to bet on stock moves and protect their holdings.

The spreading coronavirus has killed thousands, roiled the global economy and forced Italy to announce a nationwide lockdown. But for Wall Street’s trading desks, which rely on volatility to generate profit, the turmoil is an opportunity after investment banks long bemoaned the calmness of markets in recent years.

Patrick Burton, a spokesman for JPMorgan in London, declined to comment, as did Edwina Frawley-Gangahar, a spokeswoman for Citigroup.

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JPMorgan has generated about $300 million of additional revenue so far this year, including about $50 million in one trading day in late February, according to the people, who requested anonymity as the details are private. Citigroup has made between $150 million and $200 million, the people said.