Clownishness, much like beauty, stands in the eye of the beholder. So let's gather together to behold a clownish trade. Granted: playing Monday Morning quarterback to lame stock trades is a bit selective, even venal. But in the end, you learn from analyzing mistakes. Plus, what's more fun than making fun of missteps and pratfalls? With all that said, welcome to the next installment of The Clownish Trade of the Day …
JPMorgan (JPM), transforming before our eyes from financial object of reverence to one of ridicule, was essential flat yesterday -- and that's a joke.
Hear this: Wall Street's newest minted laughingstock held gains after a couple of up days, even with a long-weekend lurking and the underlying reality ever present: while a good story keeps getting better, a bad story gets even worse.
And JP Morgan is one bad story. The latest chapter made it the butt of even more jokes.
News just broke that directors of the risk committee at JPMorgan included a the president of The American Museum of Natural History in New York City, which has really cool dinosaurs, but who sat on American International Group's (AIG) governance committee in 2008, helping drive it into a ditch. Also taking a seat at the table of mitigated risk was James Crown who, as a charter member of the lucky sperm club, is the grandson of a billionaire, but hasn't worked on Wall Street since those museum dinosaurs were actually roaming Central Park West. There is also the chief executive officer of a company that makes flight controls and work boots. I knew something smelled.
The point is not to encourage outrage. That will come along naturally. But it's a bad joke to think that so soon after admitting to a reputation ruining $2 billion loss, JPMorgan -- or Citigroup (C) or Bank of America (BAC) or Goldman Sachs (GS) or any of the other sad clowns of Wall Street -- could hold gains going into the slow news period of a holiday weekend.
This story is just going to keep getting worse. And over Memorial Day Weekend, there's a lot of time to tell it.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.