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Dimon in the Rough


JPMorgan's CEO shines amidst economic trouble.


Jamie Dimon is the smartest guy in any room he happens to be in.

I can't take sole credit for that observation, as it was pointed out to me over 15 years ago by a bank attorney/venture capitalist friend who knew him back when.

But once again, as Dimon's speech before the US Chamber of Commerce and subsequent comments bear out, he gets it. Like the guy or gal in your graduate studies class who already knew what was going on before you or anyone else.

Fundamentally, you can thank Dimon for his comments carrying yesterday's blast-off another day. Of course, there are other variables for this no give-it-all-back Wednesday, but consider these Dimon observations, and time them to the market action:

  • Yes, like Citigroup's (C) Vikram Pandit comment yesterday that got things going, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is profitable.

  • Mark-to-market needs "massaging," not abolishing.

  • It should be mark-to-loan that matters in banking.

  • We can get out of this mess by the end of the year if the Fed, the Treasury, Congress and the president can act in concert - and not like some kind of dysfunctional family.

  • We don't need more regulation; we need better, more effective regulation.

I could go on but you get the point. Dimon laid out the facts and provided the framework for financial and ultimate economic recovery.

Perception is everything. And even a perceived resolution is better than none.

The question is: Can we really expect our leaders to act as adults and avoid the dysfunctional family syndrome so characteristic of Washington politics?

Only time will tell - but as Dimon points out, the answer is the difference between a speedy recovery or many years of what we have now.

Even the smartest guy in the room readily admitted he didn't know the answer to that question.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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