Stockholders and a failed bank

Question: I know WaMu depositors are insured, but what can WaMu stock holders do now? I'm relatively new to investing, and this is the first time I've seen my stock drop to $0.16! Andy, Ankeny, IA

Answer: The FDIC engineered takeover of Washington Mutual by JPMorgan Chase protects depositors, not shareholders. Shareholders are essentially wiped out. At this point, the real value of your WaMu stock could come on your tax bill, using the loss to shelter capital gains or ordinary income from Uncle Sam.

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Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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