NEW YORK – For most of his career, Jamie Dimon was known as the whiz kid who, alongside Sandy Weill, built Citigroup into a global powerhouse.
More recently, as CEO of JP Morgan Chase, he became the buyer of last resort of Bear Stearns. The man who, at least temporarily, helped halt the global financial meltdown.
Tuesday he stepped out even further, offering some very frank criticism of the lack of long-term leadership in the U.S.
In a rare public speech, Dimon said: "We knew 40 years ago we had an oil problem and we did nothing. We need long-term policy that transcends two-year Congresses."
He said it is time for Americans to be "mature." "You can't run a trade deficit for eight years and not expect a weak dollar. You can't have no energy policy and then talk about energy volatility."
Dimon dismissed the excuse. "It is not politically feasible." He argued tough decisions need to be made to improve the medical and pension systems, education and energy.
A frequent contributor to Democrats, his frustration with the political process may not be a big surprise.
But Dimon was equally blunt when discussing the problems facing the financial sector. He said that while the market was working through some of the credit problems, it was possible things could get "far worse" and if the economy turns down it will hurt the commercial banks.
Consider that official notice of where to look for the next shoe to drop. Dimon said it was his job to make sure JP Morgan Chase was in a position to ride out the storm. He also warned that "financial institutions are not too big to fail."
He ended by saying the future of America is very, very bright and that he was optimistic, but investors had to walk away feeling skittish. Jamie Dimon seems worried about the economic outlook.
This got me thinking. When everyone is bearish and things feel awful ... isn't that exactly the time to think about buying? Some technicians say yes.
One study of 10 bear markets where the S&P 500 plunged 20 percent from its high showed that stocks went on to gain an average of 9.6 percent six months out and 19.3 percent 12 months out.
There were exceptions, including the bear markets of 1973 and 2001, but it is worth thinking about.
I know what our resident bear Todd Benjamin will say to that, but what about you? Could this be a good buying opportunity or do you think the global economy and stocks are headed for more trouble?
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