The C-word

In the markets is capitulation. And it’s definitely underway now.

Huge investment bank Bear Stearns to be sold to JP Morgan for nothing close to its Friday closing price of $30-ish per share, but for $2 per share. If there’s any reason it’s not just $1 per share, it’s not obvious. The only reason seems to be to prevent even more panic than the $2 fire sale price already is.

In January 2007, Bear Stearns had a market cap of $20 billion. To give some context, that’s the same level as the current market cap of our BMO, whose stock price has lost 6.8% in the last week and 31% in the last three months because of its own credit issues. Now, BMO is for the most part a large, stable retail and commercial bank, backstopped by the too-big-to-fail promise of OSFI — no Bear Stearns. Still, I’d imagine anyone who shorted the stock last week is feeling pretty good this morning.