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Dow’s happy bank losses aren’t worse

Bob Moon Apr 16, 2008
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Dow’s happy bank losses aren’t worse

Bob Moon Apr 16, 2008
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TEXT OF STORY

TESS VIGELAND: Today, the country’s third largest bank, JP Morgan, announced a 50 percent plunge in first quarter profits. At Wells Fargo, they dropped by 11 percent, and yet, shares in both companies shot up, and the Dow jumped for joy. Huh?

Well, as we mentioned earlier this week, analysts were paying close attention to Wall Street’s reaction to these first-quarter profit reports, and, as our Senior Business Correspondent Bob Moon explains, today’s numbers actually met or exceeded expectations.


BOB MOON: Investors aren’t just signaling they’re comfortable the damages have already been priced in. They’re even pushing stock values higher, but now hear this, something else that Ted Weisberg at Seaport Securities told us to watch out for this week.

TED WEISBERG: Guidance is so important, almost more important than the actual earnings themselves.

What investors heard today was JP Morgan chief Jamie Dimon declaring the credit crisis may be “75 to 80 percent through.” What they didn’t hear were any specifics backing up that rosy outlook. Maybe he knows something we don’t, but listen closely to this exchange during a call with analysts, and maybe he doesn’t.

ANALYST: Anything that would give you some signs of stabilization of the loss and delinquency rates in the home equity portfolio?

JAMIE DIMON: No, it’s exactly what we saw, higher. More houses are going negative equity. Roll rates are high. Home prices we expect to still go down. We have not seen it.

Dimon’s formal statement today predicted economic weakness, stress in the capital markets, more credit losses and lower earnings, “possibly through the remainder of the year, or longer.” Stay tuned to find out if these mixed signals remain cause for celebration.

I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.

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