Big Banks Muzzle Chat Rooms as Dow Hangs on to Gains

Both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are staying green this morning, with the former up by five points and Dow gains hovering around 15 points. Big banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase began to climb by late morning after looking rather glum for the first hour or two after the markets opened.

Economic news is scant today, while the Federal Reserve's consideration of a quantitative easing taper remains in the news. Early this morning, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart sounded quite dovish while speaking with CNBC.

Lockhart said  the Fed fully plans to support the newly recovering economy for years to come, and will hold back on tapering its bond buying until both the economy and financial markets are ready. He noted that the hoped-for heady economic growth has still not occurred as 2013 comes to a close, but that the issue of tapering will surely be discussed at future Fed meetings. With the possibility of a taper probably pushed into next year, investors are likely feeling more relaxed.

The Department of Labor also released its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary this morning, showing little change from August to September.

Banks keeping trading chat rooms quiet
Big banks have been under the watchful eye of regulators for more than mortgage-backed securities fiascos. Interest rate manipulation scandals and investigations have centered on unmonitored online group chat rooms used by traders, and banks such as Citigroup and Barclays have banned their use. JPMorgan Chase is considering whether to join the ban, and should make a decision on the matter early next year.

According to Bloomberg, JPMorgan's $13 billion settlement with U.S. regulators isn't causing investors undue concern. In a poll administered by the news service, 28% of global respondents thought that the fines and penalties paid by JPMorgan and other banks were fair, with 26% opining that they were too low. Bloomberg noted that survey participants included analysts and bankers.

Goldman Sachs shot back at reports of its third-quarter trading revenue drop, saying that it was not technically a "loss." Regulatory filings yesterday provided some backdrop as to why the bank suffered its lowest revenue in the fixed-income area since the financial meltdown, traceable to a misjudgment on trades involving the Japanese yen.

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