Almost immediately after the stock market closed yesterday, JPMorgan Chase asked Wall Street analysts to attend a highly unusual, hastily assembled, postmarket conference call. Speculation was rampant: What could be so urgent? A credit-rating downgrade? A government investigation? CEO Jamie Dimon delivered the now all too familiar sounding bombshell: JPMorgan, the largest bank in the U.S., had suffered a $2 billion trading loss over a recent six-week period on a complex derivatives portfolio — initially designed to reduce risk — that spiraled out of control.
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