by Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Wall Street on Parade
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s oft repeated mantra this year – that the behemoth Wall Street banks “are a source of strength” in this economic crisis – is melting away faster than a snow cone in July, along with the share prices of these banks. So whom should Americans believe: The composite wisdom of the market or the opinion of a federal regulator whose supervision of these banks has been far from stellar.
The market would seem to have spoken clearly on just how “strong” these banks are. Since the first trading day of the year, January 2, to yesterday’s closing price, here’s the factual reality of just how much common equity capital these banks have bled: Citigroup is down a stunning 48 percent, losing almost half of its common equity capital; Bank of America has lost 35 percent; while JPMorgan Chase, the bank that has perpetually bragged about its “fortress balance sheet,” is down 34 percent year-to-date. And the U.S. is only seven months into what could become a prolonged economic downturn.