Yesterday, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) shares closed above the $50 mark for the first time since March. With its recent spat of legal demons rearing their ugly heads, and a contentious shareholder vote in the near future, the bank seems to be gaining despite serious headwinds. The bull market yesterday certainly pushed the bank higher, but the same cannot be said for today. While the major indexes are down an hour into trading, the bank is up by 0.59%.
The most recent lawsuit against JPMorgan comes from California, where it is alleged that the bank used robo-signing to cut corners while handling home foreclosures. So basically, bank employees were simply signing off (electronically) on paperwork that they hadn't actually reviewed. And while the lawsuit is in the early stages, this is just one more instance of new issues popping up for a bank that many had thought was above the fray.
There has been a great deal of speculation over whether or not Jamie Dimon will lose his dual roles as CEO and Chairman of the Board. Adding fuel to the fire, Dimon spoke up and said that if the vote produces a change in his role at JPM, he would exit stage left. Some analysts are already bandying about the potential losses the bank would suffer if Dimon left -- 10% and so on.
Though some have said the shareholders should vote in favor of the split, the overwhelming sentiment has been in favor of Dimon keeping both titles. In fact, a letter from several of the other board members explicitly stated that they believe a split would be detrimental to the bank. So, since the shareholder vote is a non-binding one, the true test will be whether the board can withstand shareholder pressure. So far, it's looking like they wont have a problem doing that.
There's always something
It's looking like JPMorgan may have a few good days under its belt despite some pressing matters. There's two ways to look at that: 1) investors are just going with the markets, or 2) investors are looking at the fundamentals of the business and realizing that the latest headlines are not worth an ounce of panic. If you're in the latter group, good for you. Following the herd can be a dangerous thing for your portfolio, and any given day might find you with your head hanging low. But realizing that JPMorgan is still one of the strongest banks in the business, and that the current headlines aren't going to change that, will allow you to ride the highs and lows without concern.
With big finance firms still trading at deep discounts to their historic norms, investors everywhere are wondering if this is the new normal, or if finance stocks are a screaming buy today. The answer depends on the company, so to help figure out whether JPMorgan is a buy today, check out The Motley Fool's premium research report on the company. Click here now for instant access!