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A 'Whale watch' as JPMorgan reports earnings

An employee smokes a cigarette outside the office of JPMorgan in London. The highlight of JPMorgan Chase’s second quarter earnings report will be an update on the trading loss by the so-called London Whale.

Jeremy Hobson: We're close to a big announcement this morning from JP Morgan Chase. The bank will tell us how much money was made or lost last quarter. But the big headline number is sure to be the size of the trading loss the bank suffered because of the so-called 'London Whale.' Back when the loss came to light, JP Morgan said it lost $2 billion.

But as our New York bureau chief Heidi Moore reports, that could be wishful thinking.


Heidi Moore: Since April, Wall Street analysts have obsessed with the London trader who lost billions dollars on a bad bet for the bank. He's been called the London Whale. The ensuing spectacle has been like watching the Gregory Peck version of "Moby Dick."

"Moby Dick" clip: Do you smell it lads? What the wind carries? Thar she blows! Thar she blows!

Today, JPMorgan is expected to disclose more about the size of that whale of a loss.

Peter Tchir is a bond investor who's been following the drama. He has some guesses about what we'll hear.

Peter Tchir: This complex trade they had will probably end up losing between $3 billion and $5 billion.

JPMorgan's stock has lost 25 percent of its value since the Whale surfaced and rumors started sweeping the market about the real size of that loss. After today, Tchir expects investors to stop freaking out.

Tchir: I think it's important because for once, it can end some of the conjecture. What I'm looking for is enough detail is going to come out that the stock is not going to move up and down on every London Whale rumor.

JPMorgan has fired some of the executives who approved the trade and said that the bank will report a profit. Still, it may not find the next few months such smooth sailing.

In New York, I'm Heidi Moore for Marketplace.

About the author

Heidi N. Moore is The Guardian's U.S. finance and economics editor. She was formerly the New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace.

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