Credit card issuers' fourth-quarter and year-end 2008 results, which companies will begin reporting this week, will be among the gloomiest in recent history, some analysts say. JPMorgan Chase & Co. this week said it would report its quarterly results on Thursday, nearly a week ahead of schedule. Chase originally planned to release them Jan. 21 and provided no explanation for the switch. Analysts expect the company to report steeper losses than expected following the acquisition last year of troubled Washington Mutual Inc. "Chase already signaled a lower earnings forecast to analysts, but thanks to the bad economy and higher unemployment, we expect results to be ugly for a lot of banks' credit card units, with losses and higher charge-off rates," Scott Strumello, an associate with Westbury, N.Y.-based Auriemma Consulting Group, tells CardLine. Capital One Financial Corp. also plans to release its quarterly results on Thursday. William Blair & Co. analyst David Long this week wrote in a report to investors that he expects Cap One's credit card charge-off rate to jump to 7% of outstanding receivables for December from 6.5% the previous month. Long expects Cap One's charge-off rate for 2008 to be around 6.3% and soar to 8.3% this year. Bank of America Corp. will report its quarterly results a week from today, hours before President-elect Barack Obama takes office. "The biggest question now is when we will hit bottom," Strumello says. "Various bailout programs offered so far by the government have been disappointing and have not freed up liquidity as hoped. Banks are looking to Obama to outline a plan that will get financial markets back on track."

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