As the markets were in turmoil and the world worried about a global recession in February 2016, Jamie Dimon was calling for calm.
The JPMorgan Chase CEO stood amid the tumult and said the market was cheap. He backed up his belief by purchasing 500,000 shares of his company’s stock, which was tanking at the time.
He never actually called a market trough, but many in the market since then have referred to it as the “Dimon bottom.”
Much has been made of the move and deservedly so considering the profit Dimon made on that purchase — what appears now to be a $17 million gain on a $26.6 million investment, just based on the shares purchased that day. That’s based on where JPMorgan stock was compared with where it is now. And that doesn’t even account for the total profit he made on his holdings.
The Feb. 11, 2016, purchase came at an average price of $53.18. The stock closed Friday at $87.18, equaling a $34 per share gain, or 64 percent.
Bank shares actually saw mediocre performance through much of the year, but a late-year rally fueled by Donald Trump‘s upset victory in the presidential race sent financial stocks soaring. JPMorgan shares are up 24 percent since Election Day.
The purchase brought Dimon’s total holdings in his bank to about 6.75 million shares, which would have been worth $359 million at the time. Assuming that $34 per share profit since the buy, his total profit comes to around $229.4 million.
To be sure, it was a bold move that could have gone otherwise.
At the time, there were fears of a global recession brought on by a slowdown in China. Investors worried that Deutsche Bank was in major trouble, the Federal Reserve appeared determined to raise interest rates even amid the difficulties and political uncertainty was running high.
Warren Buffett is fond of saying that he is fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.
For Dimon, it’s a lesson that paid off handsomely.
Correction: The version has been updated to reflect that Jamie Dimon’s holdings have surged by $229 million since his 2016 “bottom” buy.