Why JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America Are Plunging

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Even though the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) soared 1.1% today, its two big banks continued their freefall, with JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) and Bank of America (NYS: BAC) slipping another 2.9% and 2.7%, respectively.

In just the past seven trading days since JPMorgan announced a multibillion-dollar loss on a proprietary derivatives trading bet gone bad, each of the two behemoths has fallen 20% and 12%.

Today, JPMorgan announced that it's suspending its share-buyback program only two months after it passed the Federal Reserve's stress tests allowing it to begin the program. Two analysts downgraded the stock today. Although the company will probably shed significantly more in market cap that it stands to lose from the trade when all's said and done, it's unclear how much money it will ultimately lose. Hedge funds have been attacking for weeks, and with the spotlight firmly on JPMorgan's blunder, you can expect they'll continue to hack away, driving the bank's losses ever higher.


JPMorgan had been, rather optimistically, viewed as the role model in risk management by an industry desperate for role models in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial crisis. With the grudging acknowledgment that even JPMorgan is still human and the trading positions at large banks inhumanly complex, investors rightfully worry that maybe JPMorgan as well as Wall Street's runts -- Bank of America and Citigroup (NYS: C) -- have a less-than-perfect handle on their risk.

In other disappointments today, shares of Facebook (NAS: FB) fell 11% in their second day of trading. Some hedge funds have been pointing fingers at lead underwriter Morgan Stanley, but let's be honest: They were just planning on dumping shares onto individual investors anyway. Long-term investors who liked the stock at $38 should like it even more at $34. I'm not convinced yet in the company, or that its forward earnings multiple of 56 times is such a great deal.

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At the time this article was published Ilan Moscovitzdoesn't own shares of any company mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter, where he goes by@TMFDada. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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