The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is on a see-saw this morning, as some decent news from the industrial sector failed to erase the dismal news concerning pending home sales.
The Federal Reserve released industrial production numbers this morning, showing an increase of 0.6% in September, compared with a gain of 0.4% for August.
Within the hour, however, pending home sales for September were announced, and the news wasn't good. While economists expected movement in that arena to be flat, that metric declined by 5.6%, to 101.6, following a downward-revised 107.6 for August. While the index counts only signed contracts and not actual closings, the numbers are the lowest since December 2012, when it stood at 101.3.
JPMorgan Chase gains
Battered big bank JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) is experiencing a lift today, despite all of its legal trials and tribulations. In actuality, it just might be those very troubles that are causing the bank to peek into the green by late morning, as investors and analysts see a silver lining in parts of the bank's $13 billion settlement with federal regulators.
Bloomberg reported over the weekend that JPMorgan has agreed to a $5.1 billion settlement over low-quality mortgage-backed securities it sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac years ago. The bank will fork over $4 billion to settle the Federal Housing Finance Agency's 2011 suit over toxic MBSes the bank sold to the two agencies, as well as $1.1 billion regarding bad loans packed into other securities created by JPMorgan, and sold to the government-sponsored entities.
While money going out the door to pay for bad behavior is not the greatest news for investors, analysts see the positive side of this, especially in light of Bank of America's (NYSE: BAC ) recent conviction for fraud in its own case with federal regulators. In the infamous "Hustle" case, whereby the Department of Justice alleged that Bank of America pushed through substandard loans in order to fast-track the creation of profitable MBSes, the government was able to prove fraud using a law created during the savings and loan crisis.
While the law, called the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act, was also being used in part of the JPMorgan case, the bank was able to avoid admitting wrongdoing by settling up. Considering that many see this new use of FIRREA becoming more commonplace against banks that peddled nasty mortgage bonds before the crisis, JPMorgan Chase may have actually gotten itself -- and its investors -- a pretty good deal.
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