Published by WallStreetWeather.net
“Things could become more challenging for Dimon in June when the Uranus/Pluto square impacts his natal Mars in Capricorn. Failure to keep his ego in check could alienate his allies and raise the ire of the regulators.” – from my post, “Looking Backwards and Forwards During Mercury Retrograde (March 12 – April 4, 2012)
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is all too quick to one up the Federal Reserve and announce major market moving news during trading hours, yet Dimon chose to convene a surprise 5:00 PM conference call May 10 to discuss the 10Q the bank filed after the close.
Apparently Dimon was not proud to proclaim the bank has taken $2.3 billion in trading losses in its $374 billion portfolio in the last few weeks and could incur an additional $1 billion in losses during the second quarter. No wonder Dimon has been one of the most vocal critics against Dodd-Frank since the losses stem from the type of opaque financial products that brought AIG to its knees.
According to the 10Q filing, significant mark to market losses at JPM’s Chief Investment Office (CIO) in London which is supposed to mitigate risk for the bank began piling up losses in its synthetic credit portfolio far deeper than the firm had anticipated. As this New York Times graphic illustrates, the CIO invested in corporate debt and bought an index of corporate bond derivatives (CDS) to hedge their investment. The $2+ billion loss occurred when the CIO hedged the first hedge by betting against it. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Bruno Michel Iksil, a trader in the CIO dubbed the “London whale” as his positions grew so large they attracted the notice of other traders who began betting against the CIO’s positions.
There are so many questions that need to be answered. The first being why is the bank’s cash management function being run out of London? (Ina Drew, the head of the CIO, is based in New York.) Is it because JPM is doing things in London that would be unacceptable in New York - things that are better kept hidden from the Fed and other U.S. regulators? How does this cash management function work at JPM? Is JPM using this investment function in a way that violates the Volcker Rule? It seems to me that other than needing to hedge currency risk for loans in different dominations, there is no need to hedge your loans if they are properly underwritten and have enough collateral.
According to various news sources, Jamie Dimon instructed the CIO in 2007 to seek higher returns by taking on more risk. During last Thursday’s conference call, Dimon explained that things worsened when the CIO tried to unwind or hedge positions. Dimon knew the potential losses related to this transaction all along yet failed to disclose them to investors.
The Sun represents self-identity and rules leaders. Jamie Dimon was born in New York City on March 13, 1956 with the Sun in Pisces, the sign symbolized by two fish swimming in opposite directions. Dimon will say he is supportive of financial reforms to insure no financial institution is too big to fail, yet at the same time he adamantly opposes anything that would restrain how he wants to do business.
Things are never exactly what they appear to be with Pisces and its planetary ruler Neptune as these energies represent faith in dreams, magic, and miracles where beliefs shape reality. Pisces and Neptune rule credit (which means “to believe”) and the world of myth and metaphor.
Dubbed the “King of Wall Street” by the media, Dimon is viewed as a mythological banker superhero with the magic touch that keeps JPM out of treacherous waters and in a class above the competition. (Dimon was named Executive of the Year by the University of Rochester last week.)
Such idealization is further accentuated as Dimon’s Sun exactly opposes the USA’s natal Neptune in Virgo (which squares the USA Mars in Gemini), an alignment in the USA chart that corresponds to the “American Dream” of upward mobility and home ownership through hard work. Euphoria leads to financial bubbles that go bust when illusions get shattered and panic ensues. The financial alchemy concocted by Wall Street’s wizards created a credit bubble. Pisces/Neptune rules chemicals and plastics. There weren’t enough real mortgages and other securities to pool together so the wizards created synthetic ones.
Pisces and Neptune describe what is happening behind the scenes. The light of the September 15, 2008 Pisces Full Moon illuminated what had been kept hidden from view. The Full Moon impacted the USA’s Mars/Neptune square and conjoined Dimon’s Sun. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy that day as the contagion began to spread amongst the banks. JPM acquired Washington Mutual; its second major acquisition that year after Bear Stearns unraveled as Dimon was celebrating his 52nd birthday.
The Sun rules all forms of speculation; Pisces and Neptune blur boundaries. Dimon has said that “money is fungible.” It is likely that some of the money invested by the CIO would have been FDIC-insured. The Volcker Rule which is part of Dodd-Frank distinguishes between proprietary trading and hedging. Regulators have yet to finalize the Volcker Rule which bans the “house” betting with their own money. (Although the rule technically goes into effect July 21, banks have up to two years to prepare.)
Scandals are part of the domain of Pisces and Neptune. Dimon is experiencing planetary transits to his chart relating to his credibility, reputation, and business judgment. It is doubtful Dimon will be able to emerge from this unscathed.
A planet’s energy becomes even more pronounced when it appears from Earth’s vantage point to change direction. The impact becomes even stronger when a planet changing direction impacts the chart of an individual or entity. Mars, Mercury, and Venus are retrograde at various times during the first half of 2012. Retrograde planets represent a period to review, rectify, and put the “re” prefix in front of everything relating to matters ruled by the planet that is retrograde.
With all three planetary stations impacting his Pisces Sun, Dimon would be quite confident that his actions and powers of persuasion would be enough to convince regulators to revise their interpretation of Dodd-Frank and specifically the Volcker Rule so the bank would have enough latitude to still reap big trading profits.
Dimon stepped up his aggressive attacks criticizing financial regulation after Mars in Virgo stationed retrograde January 23 opposing his Sun. Saturn in Libra indicates the Federal Reserve wants a balanced approach to regulating to ensure banks are as safe and profitable as possible. The annual stress tests the Fed is required to conduct under Dodd-Frank are helping to prevent systemic risk in the financial system. In enforcing the boundaries, the regulators look at the risks the bank is taking.
Saturn is squaring the Fed’s natal Neptune in Cancer and Jupiter in Capricorn. The Fed’s overly accommodative policies have severely restricted banks ability to make money on net interest margin. Therefore, the Fed (along with the Treasury) are taking a looser interpretation of the Volcker Rule than its authors ever intended by giving banks more latitude in market making and hedging to make money and promote economic growth.
As Saturn stationed retrograde February 7 conjoining Dimon’s natal Neptune in Libra and squaring natal Uranus in Cancer, Dimon’s perception of the regulators imposing too tight restrictions on banks is far worse than the reality. According to The New York Times, it was around this time that JPM met with Federal Reserve officials, pushing for a “loose interpretation” of the Volcker Rule.
The Full Moon in Leo the sign of speculation then squared Dimon’s progressed Sun in Taurus, the sign of money and banking.(1) Together with the other planetary influences, it is more likely that Dimon knew that as the bank’s most influential regulator, the Fed would be reasonable interpreting Dodd-Frank. All this lobbying and public wailing against increased regulation is more about insuring JPM and more importantly Jamie Dimon remains king of Wall Street.
Born with the Moon in Mars-ruled Aries, Dimon needs to be ahead of the competition and is known for being brash and outspoken, unafraid to express how he feels. (2) Mercury turning retrograde in Aries March 12 squaring Dimon’s natal Mars in Capricorn indicated he could be too impatient and impulsive in what he says and does without considering the consequences to his reputation.
Events that occur during Mercury retrograde tend to reemerge later. Trading is ruled by Mercury the planetary energy of communication, commerce, and movement, which had retrograded back into Pisces March 23. Mercury stationed direct April 4 conjoining Dimon’s natal Sun, the day after Venus the planetary energy of money, banking, and investments entered Mercury-ruled Gemini.
In the Mercury retrograde post, I described Dimon’s ability to handle the “leak” at this time, only I was referring to JPM’s front running the Fed announcement of the stress test results. But with Mercury and Gemini there’s usually more than one issue. Lots of chatter and rumors had been leaking out about the trading going on at the CIO and that there were hedge funds making money betting against the bank’s hedges. As Venus squared Neptune in Pisces April 5, The Wall Street Journal reported about the trading being done by the London Whale.
Mercury turning direct conjoining Dimon’s Pisces Sun was a signal that Dimon’s credibility would soon be called into question. As Venus squared Neptune in the sky, both planets impacted Dimon’s natal Mercury in Pisces which squares Saturn in Sagittarius. These energies can lead to self-deception and faulty financial judgment. Dimon appears to have initially been in denial that JPM’s “fortress balance sheet” as he constantly calls it, was losing money and should have been placed at the top of his to do list that he keeps in his suit pocket. In a similar manner to the preacher or the politician who endlessly sprouts their self-righteous moral dogma only to get caught doing the immoral, Jamie Dimon’s talk of conservative banking principles has also proven to be questionable.
Being born with Venus in its home sign Taurus in a harmonious relationship to Mars in Capricorn would describe Dimon’s work to build that fortress balance sheet. The problem is that the individual tends to take these “easy” energies for granted and lets their guard down.(3) Especially when Mars was about to “attack” Dimon’s natal Mercury/Saturn square.
Mars stationed direct on April 13, the day JPM released first quarter earnings. The energies of Pluto the planet ruling secrets, debt, and opaque financial products were pronounced as it appeared motionless in the sky, having stationed retrograde April 10. Pluto turned retrograde conjoining Dimon’s natal Mars in Capricorn. According to the WSJ, there were smaller losses within the bank during the first quarter but JPM executives (it is unclear if this included Dimon) who were aware of the problem were “reassured when measures of risk settled back down.”
Jupiter conjoining his progressed Sun in Taurus indicated that Dimon was confident everything would work out. When questioned by analysts about the trading being done in the CIO during JPM’s April 13 earnings call, Dimon referred to the situation as a “tempest in a teapot,” explaining the large positions hedged investments JPM makes in “very high grade” securities using the bank’s uninvested cash from all the bank’s divisions.
But the losses kept mounting and by the April 21 New Moon in Taurus which conjoined Jupiter, the WSJ reported “the losses started to balloon to as much as $200 million a day.” The bank began a review of the trading positions taken and discovered several trading errors as Mercury returned to the same degree where it had turned retrograde on March 12.
The Full Moon illuminates where we need to focus our full awareness and attention. The Perigee Full Moon on May 5 in Pluto-ruled Scorpio opposed the Sun and Jupiter in Taurus. These energies aptly describe a supersized bank making big bets overseas using opaque financial products such as derivatives. (JPM is the largest U.S. bank by assets of almost $2.3 trillion.) The Full Moon opposing Dimon’s progressed Sun in Taurus indicated he could no longer keep the bank’s large losses a secret as the tempest could no longer be contained in the teapot.
Dimon publicly came clean about the loss in a hastily arranged conference call exactly one lunar month after JPM reported earnings. Both conference calls occurred one day after the Moon in Capricorn occulted Pluto, an indication the public and the regulators are being kept in the dark about how banks are supposedly mitigating risk.
While the Void-of-Course Moon in Capricorn together with Mercury in Taurus harmonizing with Mars and Pluto can indicate the potential that Dimon can talk his way out of this “terrible, egregious mistake” without facing any real consequences is doubtful. A Void Moon can also result in a situation taking an unexpected turn of events that can have serious and long-term ramifications, especially as the Moon was in Capricorn.(4) More important than the time of the conference call is that all the transits I have described affecting Jamie Dimon’s chart are converging now through June.
Trust and confidence are a bank’s true operating currency. As the Sun exactly conjoined Jupiter in Taurus May 13 as Jupiter exactly squares his natal Jupiter and Pluto in Leo, Jamie Dimon has
expressed an overabundance of nondescriptive words such as “egregious” without any details.
He has yet to publicly explain what the investment guidelines of the CIO were and what changes he plans to implement.
The Sun/Jupiter conjunction can describe hypocritical behavior. Dimon has often said he manages by this premise: “If you don’t tell me, it’s YOUR problem. If you tell me, it’s OUR problem.” Yet the WSJ is reporting today that three executives of the CIO unit are expected to be departing the bank this week, and it is “likely” that Bruno Iksil (a.k.a. the “London Whale”) will be leaving soon after that.
Venus in Gemini has been virtually motionless in the sky since May 8 as it prepares to turn retrograde on May 15, squaring Jamie Dimon’s Sun on the day of the JPM annual shareholder meeting.(5)
Venus retrograde until June 27 is a time for reassessing banks, past trades, financial valuations and legislation. Venus stations retrograde squaring the degrees that Mars went retrograde (January 23) and Mercury stationed direct (April 4). Mars and Venus retrograde in Mercury-ruled signs together with Mercury retrograde indicate that actions must be taken to rectify gaps in regulatory implementation that allow banks to take undue risk.
Eclipses are harbingers of major change and can coincide with changes in leadership. The Gemini Solar Eclipse on May 20 squares Neptune as it impacts Dimon’s natal Mercury/Saturn square. A scandal could be brewing and Dimon could potentially emerge at the center of it when Jupiter enters Gemini June 11. Jupiter reactivates the May 20 eclipse and Neptune’s retrograde station when Jupiter and Neptune square off in the sky June 25 as Saturn in Libra stations direct.
Events that occurred in early April are likely to resurface in early June as Neptune stations retrograde on June 4, the day of the Sagittarius Lunar Eclipse squaring Venus and Mars. These influences once again impact Dimon's natal Mercury/Saturn square. This is followed the next day by Venus conjoining the Sun in Gemini in a rare occultation of the Sun that last occurred on June 8, 2004 and won’t take place again until 2117. Leaders have been known to fall or transition around the time when Venus retrograde conjoins the Sun.(6)
It is during this time that Pluto the planet of transformation exactly conjoins Jamie Dimon’s natal Mars in Capricorn for the second time since February. Only this time Uranus in Aries is squaring Pluto in Capricorn in the first of seven exact squares in the sky (June 24) at the same the planets impact Dimon’s natal Mars.
Uranus square Pluto brings unexpected events on a massive scale that impact economic and societal structures so that what has become corrupted and decayed can be transformed and reborn. Nothing is too far out or extreme to be ruled out as these energies bring wild gyrations in the markets and reversals of fortune. Exalted companies and their leaders could unexpectedly fall from the mountaintop.
(1) Progressions move the natal planets and chart positions forward in time, symbolizing the individual or entity’s progression through life.
(2)There’s a good possibility that Dimon’s Moon squares Mars, but this is not certain as his birth time is unknown.
(3)What is true for the individual also applies to the birth charts of any type of entity such as governments and corporations.
(4) The Void-of-Course Moon is the period of time after the Moon has made its final major aspect to a planet before the Moon enters the next sign. To say nothing can come of the VOC Moon flies in the face of the fact that the Moon was VOC in Gemini at the time of the 9/11 attacks.
(5)Venus stations retrograde squaring the USA’s natal Neptune in Virgo, an indication that the nation could be dealing with financial deception and disillusionment on multiple fronts.
(6)President Reagan transitioned around the time of the Sun/Venus retrograde conjunction in Gemini in 2004 which was also a Venus Transit.