The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is up 0.14% by late morning, after a midmorning spike, and a dip after some glum news about consumer sentiment was released shortly before 10 a.m. EDT.
The Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index showed a sizable drop at its last reading, falling to 73.2 from its mid-month reading of 75.2. At the end of September, the index stood at 77.5. The release noted that the less-than-satisfying resolution to the government shutdown and debt-ceiling issues earlier this month likely hurt sentiment, which is at a two-year low.
As the government probes JPMorgan's entanglement with Bernie Madoff, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has weighed in, suggesting that a review of the bank's charter may be in order. The Wall Street Journal says that the OCC made the comment in a response to the U.S. Attorney's question regarding the consequences of a criminal inquiry into the bank's relationship with Madoff -- and whether JPMorgan Chase should have been more forthcoming with regulators about Madoff's activities.
In spite of the onerous implications for JPMorgan, investors seem to be shrugging off the threat, pushing the bank's stock up by about 0.15% shortly before the noon hour.
Goldman Sachs is doing even better, up by more than 0.85% today with no big news of its own to report. Perhaps investors are salivating over the juicy fees Goldman is set to make as one of the main underwriters of the Twitter IPO, which has just set its initial offering price of $17 to $20 per share -- giving the social media company a valuation of at least $10 billion.
Still, the atmosphere for big banks is not a jovial one, following Bank of America's recent fraud verdict in the government's "Hustle" case -- in which the bank was found to be liable for defrauding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by selling the agencies toxic mortgage bonds.
Some see the government's victory as a harbinger of trouble for all big banks, two of which are JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. For today, at least, investors don't seem to be worried about such things, and both banks continue to climb as the morning comes to an end.
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