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Regional Banks: Financial Losers

When asked about his meeting with Dimon, Holder said he "did meet with representatives of JPMorgan," and that he expected "to be making further announcements in the coming weeks, the coming months." The attorney general refused to discuss the details of his conversation with Dimon, but did say "this is something of a priority."

In a piece originally published by RealMoney, Jim Cramer reacted to the possible $11 billion settlement by concluding that "If JPMorgan Chase can actually get the federal and state authorities to sign a piece of paper saying they can only sue the bank for future infractions in the mortgage market and not past ones, then JPMorgan will have gotten a huge bargain. It could be fabulous for the bank."

That's because even a giant legal settlement that could wipe out third-quarter earnings would "clean the slate" for the company's stock to be considered by investors relative to its "normalized earnings."

Until a settlement is reached, "we are stuck in some world where we don't know what this bank, the envy of the industry, can really earn. Right now the Street is clustered at around $6 in earnings power for next year.

Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski on Thursday cut his third-quarter earnings estimate for JPMorgan Chase in half to 70 cents a share, factoring-in an estimated $5 billion hit to earnings from a legal settlement. In his third-quarter earnings preview for large-cap banks, the analyst wrote "We obviously have no idea what it will be, but in putting a $5B assumption into our estimate, we want to point out that even this amount would leave JPM with earnings comfortably above its dividend."

JPMorgan's quarterly dividend on common shares is 38 cents, for a yield of 2.93%. The bank's stock is cheapest among all large-cap U.S. banks, trading for just 8.5 times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of $6.08, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Despite his third-quarter estimate cut, Kotowski reiterated his "outperform" rating for JPMorgan, with a price target of $71.00.

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-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

>Contact by Email.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.
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