Jamie Dimon

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Frontrunning: March 26

  • One-Ship Ukraine Navy Defies Russia to the End (WSJ)
  • Crimea-Induced Trading Surge Stokes Moscow Exchange Rally (BBG)
  • Moscow says Ukraine stops Russian crews disembarking in Kiev (Reuters)
  • New images show more than 100 objects that could be plane debris (Reuters)
  • Anger of Flight 370 Families Explodes in Beijing (BBG)
  • Murdoch Promotes Son Lachlan in Succession Plan for Empire (BBG)
  • Facebook to buy virtual reality goggles maker for $2 billion (Reuters)
  • Syrian Regime Exploits Rebel Despair (WSJ)
  • King Digital IPO price may not bode well for stock (Reuters)
  • Rothschild in Twitter Spat as Bakries Cut Ties With Miner (BBG)
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The Fed's Annual "Stress Test" Is Out: 29 Of 30 Banks Pass, Zions Is This Year's Sacrificial Lamb

It's mid-March, which means it is time for the annual confidence boosting theatrical spectacle known as the Fed's stress test (for those who may have forgotten last year's farce when Jamie Dimon preempted the Fed by announcing a dividend in advance of the results, can read here). And like in the past, there were absolutely no surprises with 29 of 30 banks passing with flying colors. Of course, since it is a "test", and someone has the be sacrificial calf, this year that honor falls to Zions Bankshares. Last year its was Citi, SunTrust and MetLife. In both years the results are completely meaningless, as the Fed neither then, nor now, has any methodology for how to calculate capital in case of the same kind of counterparty failure chain as happened during Lehman, and when no amount of capital would have been sufficient to preserve the financial sector. Like we said: theatrical spectacle. But at least everyone's confidence has been boosted. So Buy stawks, and build your paper wealth! And here is the truly funny part: in the baseline stress test scenario, the Dow Jones "plunges" to 11.4K in Q3 2014, and then somehow surges back to all time highs by Q4 2016! Does the Fed understand the word Stress?

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Goodbye Blythe Masters: JPM Sells Its Physical Commodities Business To Mercuria For $3.5 Billion

While it has been public for a long time that i) JPM is eager to sell its physical commodities business and ii) the most likely buyer was little known Swiss-based Mercuria, there was nothing definitive released by JPM. Until moments ago, when Jamie Dimon formally announced that JPM is officially parting ways with the physical commodities business. But while contrary to previous expectations, following the sale JPM will still provide commercial gold vaulting operations around the world, it almost certainly means farewell to Blythe Masters.

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The Top 12 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Heading Toward Another Recession

Is the U.S. economy steamrolling toward another recession?  Will 2014 turn out to be a major "turning point" when we look back on it?  Before we get to the evidence, it is important to note that there are many economists that believe that the United States never actually got out of the last recession.  In fact, that would fit with the daily reality of tens of millions of Americans that are deeply suffering in this harsh economic environment.  But no matter whether we are in a "recession" at the moment or not, there are an increasing number of indications that we are rapidly plunging into another major economic slowdown.  The following are the top 12 signs that the U.S. economy is heading toward another recession...

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481 Barclays Employees Paid Over 1 Million Pounds In 2013, Increase Of 53 From 2012 Despite Losses, Mass Layoffs

It was less than a month ago when Barclays announced it would fire 12,000 workers after posting abysmal earnings with Q4 banking income crashing 37% and overall income sliding 9%. So, one would think, its employees would be punished with lower pay - those that are lucky enough to keep their jobs of course. One would be wrong. Reuters just reported that 481 of Barclays employees were paid 1 million pounds ($1.7 million) or more last year, 53 more than in the year before, and most of them were based in the United States. Barcalys' immutable rationale - fear of losing the traders to a better-paying competitor. Like who - is the Fed hiring again?

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"More Bloodletting" As Citi/JPM See Plunge In Trading Volumes

Jefferies, Deutsche Bank, and now Citi and JPMorgan are all facing a collapse in trading volumes as Bloomberg reports the two banks brace for a fourth straight drop in first-quarter trading revenues - a period of the year when the largest investment banks typically earn the most from that business. “It sounds like more bloodletting on Wall Street,” warns one analyst, as Citi expects trading revenue to drop by a “high mid-teens” percentage.

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JPM To Lay Off 17,000 Mortgage Bankers In 2013 And 2014, Because The "Housing Recovery"

The last time JPMorga had an investor day, Jamie Dimon explained to Mike Mayo why he is richer than him (and pretty much anyone else). This year, Jamie will be more focused on explaining to 8,000 JPM workers why after firing 16,500 people in consumer and mortgage banking, the bank will now let go another 2K and 6K in those same two groups (which will bring total mortgage and consumer banking headcount reductions between 2013 and 2014 to at least 17K and 7.5K, respectively). This may be tricky especially in the context of, you know, the housing and economic recovery, and stuff.

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Frontrunning: February 10

  • Yellen's first test (Reuters)
  • Let weak banks die, says eurozone super-regulator (FT)
  • Yellen, Carney Face Explaining Policy as Benchmarks Near (BBG)
  • Commerzbank Said Seeking Debt Buyers in $6.8 Billion Spain Exit (BBG)
  • Junk Yield Premiums Soar on China’s Looming First Default (BBG)
  • Millions Trapped in Health-Law Coverage Gap (WSJ)
  • Mandel Tops Best-Earning Hedge Funds for Clients in 2013 (BBG)
  • Swiss Brace for Sour EU Relations After Immigration Vote (BBG)
  • Detroit Bankruptcy Talks to Resume (WSJ)
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Dutch Bankers "Swear To God" They'll Be Honest From Now On

Following rate-rigging scandals, FX manipulation debacles, insider-trading idiocy, and over-aggressive lending practices, bankers are taking a different approach in regaining some public trust. As Jamie Dimon gives himself a "well-deserved" pay rise, Dutch bankers are turning to God... As Bloomberg reports, all 90,000 Dutch bank employees will take an oath 'to do no harm' as it were, punishable by the Banking Association. While Goldman may be doing God's work; the Dutch are vowing to Him to enhance confidence in their industry.

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The Play's The Thing

XKCD published this cartoon in reference to ESPN and the like, but it’s even more applicable to CNBC and its ilk. Just to be clear, I’m not slamming these hosts and traders. I’m sure that they are overwhelmingly smart, honest people who believe that what they say are useful truths from their own perspectives. They are not hypocrites. But they are performers. And like any performer, there is a larger game being played with their words. The larger meaning of the statements made on CNBC has absolutely nothing to do with specific investment advice or news. CNBC really could not care less about the actual content of what is being said. The purpose of CNBC’s game is not to tell you WHAT to think, but HOW to think, that thinking about investing in terms of some sell-side analyst’s anodyne story about fundamentals or some trader’s breathless story about open option interest is smart or wise or what all the cool kids are doing. Why? Because CNBC can create inexpensive content essentially at will to fill this demand, allowing them to sell advertisements and take cable carriage fees. 

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Market Cornered: JPMorgan Owns Over 60% Notional Of All Gold Derivatives

Perhaps the only question we have after seeing the attached table, which shows that as of Q3, 2013 JPMorgan owned $65.4 billion, or just over 60% of the total notional ($108.2 billion) of all gold derivatives in the US, is whether the CFTC will pull the "our budget was too small" excuse to justify why it allowed Jamie Dimon to ignore any and all position limits and corner the gold market?

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Frontrunning: January 28

  • Emerging markets pray for Wall Street tumble (Reuters)
  • Yellen Faces Test Bernanke Failed: Ease Bubbles (BBG)
  • Samsung sets new smartphone sales record in fourth quarter, widens lead over Apple (Reuters)
  • China’s Foreign-Reserves Investment Chief Said to Depart Agency (BBG)
  • China’s Rescue of Troubled Trust May Stoke Risk-Taking (BBG)
  • Ukraine PM Azarov offers to resign 'to help end conflict' (Reuters) ... And Russia says may reconsider aid if this happens
  • But... but... it was all gold's fault: India Unexpectedly Raises Rate as Rupee Risks Inflation Goal (BBG)
  • Former Belgian king 'boycotting' public events after complaining £760,000 is not enough to live on (Telegraph)
  • Greek disposable income tumbles 8% in Q3 (Kathimerini)
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Jamie Dimon Gets Pay Raise After Raking Up $25 Billion In Legal Fees

Earlier this week we reported that at JPMorgan, the many will pay for the crimes of the few, after the bank revealed that compensation for most workers would be flat with 2012, and no raises were planned for the bank's employees as a result of the massive, $20+ billion legal bill the bank has raked up in recent months as one after another market manipulation, fraud and malfeasance by current and former JPM workers has been revealed. One person, however, will be exempt from this blanket punishment: the firm's CEO Jamie Dimon, of course. Because there is always a reason Jamie is richer than you...

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Dear JPMorgan Workers: No Raise For You

There was a time in the financial industry when the many wouldn't suffer for the sins of the few (although taxpayers were certainly excluded from this maxim). Well, for the "many" who work at JPMorgan, that is no longer the case because as Reuters reports, JPM employees can forget getting a pay raise in 2013 (although with sub-2% annual inflation as calculated by the BLS one wonders just why anyone should be getting a raise: just hand out an edible iPad or two and the COLA is fixed). The reason for the lack of a raise: "the bank's massive legal bills" - bills which incidentally were incurred when a select few JPM employees cheated and defrauded the system - illegally - in order to procure massive year end bonuses, most if not all of which were not clawed back, and subsequently were caught (one can only imagine how many of the "few" are still at the bank, doing manipulation and defrauding as usual. And now it is everyone else's turn to pay because the bank lacked the most elementary supervision of its criminal employees (long since fired) and raked up roughly $20 billion in litigation and legal settlement charges.

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