This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

The 10 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Summer

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- So long summer! It's been such a tremendous season of unadulterated dumbness that we here at the 5 Dumbest Lab really, really hate to see you go.

Labor Day is upon us and that means our friends on Wall Street will soon be trading their casual polo shirts for pinstripes and power ties. Yes, it's time for America's captains of industry to get back to business. Monkey and otherwise.

But before officially saying goodbye to what has been a three-month bull market for both stupidity and stocks, we wanted to reminisce just one more time about some of the highlights -- or lowlights -- of summer 2012. So please enjoy the 10 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Summer. See you in the fall.

10. Dimon's Self-Inflicted Disaster -- (Originally published June 15, 2012)

What a difference a year and a $2 billion (and counting) loss makes. Right, Jamie Dimon?

JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) CEO found himself before a Senate panel this Wednesday with the uncomfortable task of explaining why and how his London-based Chief Investment Office lost billions when it was supposed to be hedging run-of-the-mill risk for the bank's excess deposits.

Of course, the reason why this appearance was less pleasurable for Jamie than his previous jaunts to Washington -- the ones where he played Congress' prize pupil sitting in a pew full of naughty, bailed-out bank CEOs -- was because in this case Dimon set the witness table for himself.

In other words, Jamie's own hubris came back to bite the government's former golden boy in the ass. And sadly, that's the real dumb part of this whole affair, not so much the loss, which, although sizable by Main Street standards, is barely a blip for a company with $1.1 trillion in deposits, $700 billion in loans and $18 billion in profits last year.

It was a year ago this week, if you recall, when the follicly-blessed bank chieftain traveled to Atlanta, the home of baseball's Braves mind you, for the sole purpose of waving a hatchet at the already-scalped Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Why Dimon literally and figuratively went off the reservation to heckle the fairly even-minded Bernanke is beyond us. But there he was in the crowd during the Q&A session, braying about the government's stepped-up efforts to clamp down on the banking industry.

"I have this great fear that someone's going to write a book in 10 or 20 years, and the book is going to talk about all the things that we did in the middle of a crisis that actually slowed down recovery," said Dimon, who then asked Bernanke, "Is this holding us back at this point?"

Ouch. Wish you could that one back, don't you Jamie? Just like you wish you could time travel and strike April's "tempest in a teapot" line about this particular loss from the record as well. Sadly, not even your so-called "fortress balance sheet" is enough to buy you that luxury.

All that said -- and we've said a lot -- we will cut Dimon a slight bit of slack, but not for owning up to his bank's mistakes. Certainly we would not have heard a peep from Dimon if the so-called hedge had gone JPMorgan's way, so why on earth should we celebrate Dimon publicly admitting the "self-inflicted" nature of the loss? Seriously, what else is the guy to do after spending the last year taunting poor government officials over their plans like the Volcker Rule to protect bankers like Dimon from themselves?

No, the break we will grant Dimon is that his ego-inflation was not entirely his own fault. The truth is, the very folks now pillorying him deserve a lot of the blame for puffing him up.

As Dimon rightly reminded the panel during the hearing, it was the government that gifted him $25 billion in TARP funds even though his bank didn't require the cash. And speaking of gifts, it was Uncle Sam who guaranteed $29 billion in losses so he could buy a busted Bear Stearns, or what Andrew Ross Sorkin called "Jamie's deal" in his book Too Big To Fail. It was also that same Uncle Sam who blessed his deal to buy WaMu for a paltry $1.9 billion.

Put it all together and it's clear to see that JP Morgan had a great deal of assistance from Washington as it snowballed into the colossus it is today. And it was those same silly folks who gave Dimon the false confidence to think that a single man could hold it together.

1 of 10

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,960.57 -123.23 -0.72%
S&P 500 1,978.34 -9.64 -0.48%
NASDAQ 4,449.5640 -22.5440 -0.50%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs