The great disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street is on full display today with talk that JPMorgan Chase may agree to pay an $11B settlement to get rid of pesky Justice Dept. and state probes of its mortgage-backed securities practices.
In most sectors, $11B is not exactly chump change.
For instance, the proposed ad/PR mega-merger between Publicis Groupe and Omnicom will create an entity with a combined value of $35B that will rock and reshape the business.
The JPMorgan Chase cash machine could raise that amount without breaking much of a sweat.
JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon is negotiating today with Attorney General Eric Holder about the size of the settlement, not prison terms. The Wall Street Journal had speculated earlier this week that a settlement would weigh in at $3B. Since that trial balloon didn’t get very far off the group, JPM upped the ante.
Stock traders yawned at the $11B number. JPMorgan’s stock is currently up 31 cents to $53.66, moving toward the $56.93 high for the year. The stock has been on a tear, up $18 since the “London Whale” scandal news broke during the spring. In the upside world of Wall Street, bad news is good news for stock appreciation.
Wall Street does have one concern about the potential $11B settlement. That outlay could force Dimon to push back the planned $6B stock buyback plan. If the WSJ floated the $11B figure instead, Uncle Sam would be looking at a $20B settlement today.
In a research note, Portales Partners frets the “materiality of the potential litigation charges and the potential suspension of the share repurchase programs could have a significant impact on JPM’s share price.”
Geez, where’s Occupy Wall Street when you need it?