The two banks swapping prospects seems the financial world equivalent of Mark Twain's "The Prince and The Pauper," in which two boys from opposite stations in life merely switch clothes and instantly transform into one another.
Ever since it was revealed that a JPMorgan trade lost the company somewhere between $2 billion and the value of all the gold you can sift in California (still, no one is quite certain precisely how much was lost) Citigroup traders have been a cheerier lot and the public has been mistreated to headlines like "Why Citigroup Is No JPMorgan."
But it was always a clown's game to think of some banks as good and others as bad.
The last thought to be a pillar of ethical fortitude was JP Morgan and well, how did that turn out for them? Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan's once venerated CEO, was last seen stammering out assurances that the dividend would survive, even as he took back stock buyback promises.
To react to the revelation that the good are actually as crummy as the bad, by alternating the good with the bad simply calls to mind Emmett Kelly, the sad clown.
After all, the entire sector is beset by woes (reckless trading and IPO practices, the intractable crisis in Europe, the weakness in housing that is a function as much of a generation long trend in demographics-i.e. the baby boomers downsizing-than anything short and cyclical) and public mistrust. Today's strike against the public holding a Wall Street firm (any Wall Street firm) in good repute is the news that Morgan Stanley (MS) was essentially dealing out of both sides of their mouths on Facebook (FB).
None of these banks are blame free. In other words, only Bozo would make distinctions between banks. Rotating your distinctions is worse. Simply put, macro and micro issues are impacting the whole laughable lot of them.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.