Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup (C) set off a buying spree in bank stocks when he said his company had done well in the first two months in the year. Now, Jamie Dimon, chief of JPMorgan (JPM) could turn the buying into a wave of selling.
According to Reuters, "After a meeting with President Barack Obama, JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said that March was "a little tough" in comments to CNBC."
It is hard to say how bad the news is because Dimon did not indicate the cause of the weakness. If it is more write-offs of toxic assets, at least the Treasury's new program to buy this kind of paper could help banks in the coming months. But, if the losses come from other sources, it may begin a wave of write-offs from other assets like consumer credit, LBOs, and commercial real estate.
If that is the case, banks may face several more quarters of poor results.
Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.