Pay no attention to that claw back behind the curtain! JPMorgan (JPM) bulls have been living out their week lost in the false hope that after the company reports on Friday, all its Whale trade troubles will be forgotten, permanently disposed of in the ash bin of history.
JPMorgan is currently helping this notion along by leaking stories about claw backs, including in today's Wall Street Journal. For those uninitiated in the fine art of changing the subject, claw backs involve taking money back-in this case, for those who received bonuses based on these so-called rogue trades.
Sure: it's a better-strategy-than-not, more just than letting the rogues keep their ill-gotten gains. But the stock is reacting as if this stunt, however justified, will serve as a tool of forgiveness and forgetfulness.
That won't happen.
Even in the best-case scenario, JP Morgan's earnings report will be messy and confusing. They'll be swiping money from hither and yon to cover the losses and that's before we get to the troubles of substance that hurt Alcoa (AA) this week and will harm Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Goldman Sachs (GS) in the near future. The words "profits were hurt by troubles in Europe and China" are becoming the modern market's mantra, to say nothing of the stillborn economic recovery in the United States.
Moreover, JPMorgan's preen about taking money back from The Whale and its barnacles will be forgotten in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, once the general public sees that Jamie Dimon and other CEOs, all they really pay attention to in the end, are taking home the same obscene pay packages they always have.
A claw back is better than nothing. But if you think it's going to permanently settle JPMorgan's troubles so you should chase the stock higher, you'll have to scars to show for it.