Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Dimon jubilee

Jamie Dimon managed to turn a multibillion-dollar trading loss into a winning moment.

The CEO of JPMorgan came sailing into the Senate office building this morning with a smile, and gave a pitch-perfect performance in explaining how a small group of traders in its London office screwed up a hedging strategy so badly that they lost at least $2 billion.

Dimon was apologetic, but not groveling. He stood his ground, but was not combative. He gave the impression he was an open book, but managed to give precious few details about how much the trading loss has grown.

He came off as so in-control that senators asked HIM for advice about how Washington should police Wall Street.

Investors gave Dimon rave reviews, sending the shares up 1.5 percent while the overall bank stock index closed down for the day.

Washington Extra – cautionary tale

President Barack Obama signed a $600 million bill to strengthen border security, and just to make sure the message got through, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano took the podium at today’s White House media briefing. Immigration has always been a tough political issue, and in an election year no great strides are expected on major reform before the November vote. “It cannot only be done by Democrats. The Republicans need to come to the table,” Napolitano said.

WALMART/The American consumer is still a cautionary tale. But consumer sentiment appears to have stabilized in August after dropping sharply in July. “Consumers are still cautious, but it is not double-dip material,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. In a separate report, U.S. retail sales rose in July but showed hints of lingering economic softness.

And finally, I tried to find something positive to say about Friday the 13th and realized there’s no need, because it’s still Friday!