May 11 - Wall Street closed with small losses despite a 9 percent drop in shares of JPMorgan Chase as a rise in consumer sentiment took some of the edge off investor sentiment. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The stock market once again showed its resiliency - mostly shaking off worries - this time about Wall Street banks themselves. Stocks opened lower, led by the banks, after JPMorgan Chase surprisingly revealed $2 billion in trading losses, reigniting concerns about banks being too big to fail. But by midday, investor angst was limited to the banking sector. Jason Weisberg of Seaport Securities downplayed JPMorgan's revelation. SOUNDBITE: JASON WEISBERG, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SEAPORT SECURITIES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Things are okay with the bank. They just made a bet and it went wrong. It's not an indication of the overalI market or the overall sector." But investors weren't as forgiving, sending shares of America's top bank down by more than 9 percent. Economic data also soften the blow to investor psychology. U.S. consumer sentiment jumped to a more than four-year high in early May, according to a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary survey. Americans see the jobs market as getting better despite slower job creation. And producers are getting some relief. Producer prices surprisingly fell in April as energy costs rolled back by the biggest amount in six months. Tame inflation gives the Federal Reserve more wiggle room if it needs to step in with additional stimulus. Looking at the final numbers: Blue chips and the S&P 500 ended marginally lower, but the Nasdaq pretty much broke even. Blue chips lost 1.7 percent for the week, while the Nasdaq gave up less than a full percent. It was a mostly up day in Europe where stocks in Germany and the U.K. rallied, but fell flat in France. Conway Gittens, Reuters