JP Morgan Facing Fed Agency Number
J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) has the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, on its
tail this time, the eighth federal agency pursuing legal action against the
bank. The FERC alleges that J.P. Morgan manipulated the energy markets in
California and Michigan. Additionally, the bank is on the verge of legal action
by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency over its failure to alert
officials of suspicions of Bernard Madoff, who was at the center of a 2009 Ponzi
scheme. History proves the bank is not one to offer cooperation with regulators.
During J.P. Morgan's earnings call in April, J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said,
“There is no room for compromise in meeting our obligations to comply with the
new regulatory requirements and ensure that our systems, practices, controls,
technology and, above all, culture meet the highest standards. And we will
continue to work with our regulators on our common interest – to build and
sustain a strong and safe financial system.”
Into early afternoon on Friday, S&P 500 (SPX) was maintaining its historical
position at over 1,600. With the S&P closing above 1,600 Friday, it marks the
first close above a new century mark in 13 years. On March 22, 2000, the S&P
closed above 1,500, for the first time. On February 2, 1998, the S&P 500 took
out 1,000. In the latter part of 2000, the S&P 500 blew by the 1,500 level but,
stalled out as the recessions and global economic melt downs, fell into place.
On November 21, 1985, the S&P 500 first closed above 200. In early 1987, the S&P
500 took out the 300 level. In 1991, the S&P 500 surpassed the 400 mark.
During her first formal speech as chairman of the agency before the Investment
Company Institute meeting in Washington, Mary Jo White, the newly installed
chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission said that in circumstances
like the fake tweet on April 23 that sent the markets tanking, the SEC is
monitoring the markets “in real time” and seeking to find out whether there
should be an enforcement or regulatory response. White declined to comment on
whether the SEC was taking any further steps in response to the incident. White
said the Twitter hack “reminds us” that technology systems are vulnerable and
need to have “state of the art” safeguards. The attack has raised questions
about the investment world’s use of high-speed technology including “pattern
recognition technology” which consists of the use of sophisticated computers
programmed to scan news streams including Twitter and other social media sites
and make buy or sell decisions in a fraction of an instant. A pressing issue
regarding the mutual fund industry was a subject on the table for White. The SEC
has not concluded as to whether they will move forward with further reform
efforts for the $2.7 trillion money-market fund industry. With limited detail,
White said SEC staff and top officials are “actively” engaged in discussions to
produce an “appropriate and balanced” proposal for reform of the industry. In
recent months, SEC officials have discussed reform efforts for the industry,
seeking to respond to concerns about systemic problems after a major fund - The
Reserve Primary Fund - “broke the buck” in 2008 with a net asset value of less
than $1 a share. The mutual fund industry has voiced opposition for any further
regulation, arguing it could drive mutual fund flow from money funds, into bank
As reported by the U.S. Labor Department on Friday, the U.S. economy created
165,000 jobs during April, dropping the unemployment rate to 7.5% - for the
lowest jobless rate since December 2008. During the month of April: professional
services added 73,000 workers; bars and restaurants added 38,000 workers; retail
business added 29,000 workers; construction workers lost 6,000 jobs and
manufacturing remained unchanged. Average hourly earnings rose 4 cents to $23.87
and the average workweek dipped 0.2 hours to 34.4.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported Friday that factory orders fell weaker
than expected by 4% during March. New orders for non-durable goods decreased by
2.4%; shipments fell 1.0%; inventories remained flat; orders for non-defense
capital goods excluding aircraft increased 0.9% during March.
Institute for Supply Management services index came in at 53.1% from 54.4%
during March. Business activity, new orders, employment and prices indexes all
fell during the month but remained above the 50% mark indicating expansion.
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