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JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)’s Alabama Headache

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An hour and a half into trading, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) is trading down 0.11% after opening slightly up. All of the Big Four banks and the markets are on a rollercoaster today as a mixed-message labor report keeps investors uneasy, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) investors in particular face bad news out of Alabama.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM)

First, the confusing news
The Labor Department is reporting that initial jobless claims were down by 11,000 for the week ending June 1. This puts total jobless claims for said week at 346,000, not far off from forecasts of 345,000. That’s good. But the four-week moving average showed that jobless claims increased for the week: a mixed message if there ever was one.

In addition, The New York Times is reporting that JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) stands to lose up to $1.6 billion in a deal to sort out the bankruptcy of Jefferson County, Alabama: “$842 million on the $1.22 billion of sewer debt that [JPMorgan] holds … on top of $647 million [the bank] forgave in termination fees on derivatives contracts with the county.”

A stenchy deal is better than no deal
Regarding the Jefferson County bankruptcy, at least it’s not another London Whale. The damage seems to be contained to $1.6 billion, and some of this may have already been accounted for. One bit of good news about this: In agreeing to the deal, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) is avoiding a lawsuit by Jefferson county, which could have cost the superbank even more.

Ever since the drama surrounding Jamie Dimon being stripped of his title as chairman ended more than two weeks ago, there’s been a real dearth of news about JPMorgan Chase — good or bad. Something had to happen again at some point. It is the biggest bank in the country, after all. While this news isn’t good, it could have been worse.

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