by Pam Martens and Russ Martens at Wall Street on Parade
Last Friday, at 6:32 a.m. ET, headlines started rolling with the news that Jamie Dimon, the long-tenured Chairman and CEO of the largest bank in the United States, JPMorgan Chase, was going to start selling a significant part of his sizeable stock holdings in the bank next year. The revelation came in an 8K filing with the SEC and noted that he and his family “currently intend to sell 1 million shares,” leaving open the door that he and his family might decide to sell more.
The 8K filing also stated that “This is Mr. Dimon’s first such stock sale during his tenure at the company.” The reality is that Dimon, his wife and his Trusts held over 10 million common shares of JPMorgan Chase in 2017 according to SEC filings and now they hold 8.6 million shares, according to a May 2023 filing. Through some manner, selling or otherwise, their stock position has already been reduced significantly.
Markets already had plenty to be nervous about before the opening bell on Friday morning. Military tensions had heightened; the Dow had gone negative year-to-date; the S&P 500 had broken through key resistance at 4200; a Fed rate-setting meeting was just a few days away; and rising Treasury yields continued to suck money out of bank deposits and put banks’ holdings of older debt securities further underwater.
Friday morning was a time when John Pierpont Morgan of an earlier era would have made a statement to reassure markets. Instead, the man now sitting at the helm of the nation’s largest bank added to market instability by announcing he’s selling.
By the closing bell at 4 p.m. on Friday, here’s the damage that Dimon’s ill-timed decision to announce he’s dumping shares helped to create: the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 366.7 points with help from one of its plunging components, JPMorgan Chase, which dropped $5.07 per share on the day. JPMorgan Chase’s total market value lost $14.65 billion for the day. Shareholders of other bank stocks similarly caught the fever to sell, likely figuring that Dimon had a lot of inside information that they did not. Among the hardest hit was the second largest bank in the U.S., Bank of America, which fell by 3.64 percent on the day and U.S. Bancorp, the fifth largest bank, which shed 3.56 percent by the closing bell. Regional bank stocks also had a bad day with Comerica down 3.29 percent; Zions Bancorp down 3.28 percent; Fifth Third Bancorp down 2.97 percent; and Regions Financial down 2.91 percent.
Warren Buffett was likely none too happy about Dimon’s decision to…Continue Reading