Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
In a week with very little economic data to propel trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has suffered from weak momentum and investor indecision. The index is poised to record its first down week since June, with a loss of 123 points as of this writing. Though some had initially thought that the summer slump had passed, with positive economic news leading to gains earlier in the season, Mr. Market may be headed for an Indian summer slump.
Most news stories regarding economic data and the overall recovery will cite at least one economist or analyst who says the second half of the year will bring better data and better stock movements. Not to burst their bubble, but the second half of the year has already begun -- and we're not getting the best news so far.
With that in mind, it's important for investors to look at their portfolios with a long-term view. Though this is a temporary market environment, with specific conditions due to the economic recovery, it will end -- the issue is timing. So look at your investments with a clear focus on their management of the current conditions: Are they profitable now? Can the company withstand the current challenges for a longer time period? What are the forces working against the company's profitability? Though this exercise is focused on the near-term environment, it will help you determine how your investments will act if current conditions remain for an extended period of time, and allow you to breathe easier if the second half of the year doesn't come up to snuff.
Banks facing new requirements
JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) is facing a Securities and Exchange Commission probe into its London Whale trading debacle and may be required to do something that banks have long been spared from -- admit wrongdoing. Previously, banks were not required to admit (or deny) wrongdoing as part of the resolution for such probes, but new SEC Chairman Mary Jo White is changing all that with the related parties either choosing to admit their misconduct or heading to trial.
With Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) also on the SEC's list of investigations, it may not be long before that bank also has to admit wrongdoing. B of A is currently facing suits from the SEC and the Department of Justice for selling $850 million in mortgage-backed securities that it allegedly misrepresented as less risky than they truly were.
Both Bank of America and JPMorgan are facing heavy legal dockets in the coming months due to the SEC and DOJ probes, but the other half of the big four are currently facing less scrutiny. While Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) does have a number of suits pending in relation to is securities lending program, it got good news this week when one jury found the bank not guilty of misrepresenting the risk of said program to investors. With the news of the B of A and JPMorgan probes coming from their second-quarter 10-Qs, the fact that Citigroup (NYSE:C) filed its report a week ago and hasn't called any attention to new probes makes it look like the bank is in the clear -- for now.