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JPMorgan: A “Dimon” in The Rough?

Talking Numbers

JPMorgan shareholders vote tomorrow on whether to let Dimon keep the title of both chairman and CEO. He says that if he has to give up one, he’s out of there. Is this uncertainty a buying opportunity?

JPMorgan Chase’s shareholders will be meeting tomorrow to decide if Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon will keep both those titles. In reality, this is a referendum on the man himself as he’s threatened to quit should he have to give up one or the other.

Shares of the company are now trading 1% above where they were when Dimon took the reins at the end of 2006. That’s not to say it’s been smooth sailing. By March 2009, share prices fell below $16. It has since rebounded 225%, making his tenure a wild ride indeed.

Proponents of splitting the roles cite corporate governance best practices. Dual roles are generally considered one of many warning signs when looking at a company, according to the curriculum for the CFA Institute, the best-known analysts’ organization.

On the other hand, many believe Dimon is a notable exception. And, they believe that JPMorgan under Dimon’s helm is better for it. Speaking to Talking Numbers last week about the company’s tough times in the past, Chairman of Renaissance Macro Research and CNBC contributor Jeff DeGraaf said, “JPMorgan has really weathered this extremely well. Sure, it was a big draw-down from the highs in 2007, but you’re now just starting to get through those.”

So, will the controversy around Dimon’s continued role be a buying opportunity for you?

Enis Taner, Global Macro Editor of is no fan of the company itself. “I hate JPMorgan for many reasons,” he says. For Taner, JPMorgan’s controversies – such as accusations of price fixing in the energy markets and mortgage fraud – are indicative that the company should not exist in its present form. However, he’s a fan of its stock.

“It is cheap for many reasons,” he says. “It’s nine times P/E [price-to-earnings ratio], it pays a 3% dividend, and it’s grown earning in double digits for the last five years. This is a company that investors are going to continue to flock to just for the simple argument that it’s cheaper than everything else in the stock market."

Carter Worth, Chief Market Technician at Oppenheimer and a CNBC contributor, believes the charts agree with Taner’s bullish sentiment.

“If you look at the long-term chart, it’s not extended at all,” he says. “This is the beginning of an important period of strength.” Worth believes the stock is headed to about $57 per share.


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