Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Goldman Sachs Posts Loss

Remember when everyone thought that Goldman Sachs was immune to any downturn because they were just smarter than the plebian boobs working at other investment banks?  As it turns out, Goldman really is just another cyclical investment bank that can't escape the worst downturn the securities industry has seen since the Great Depression.  CEO Lloyd Blankfein's statement, after reporting negative net revenues of $1.58 billion and a net loss of $2.12 billion for the fourth quarter, summed up the situation nicely:  "Our results for the fourth quarter reflect extraordinarily difficult operating conditions, including a sharp decline in values across virtually every asset class."  The good news is that Goldman is still standing unlike Merrill, Lehman and Bear.  Even better news is that the government has shown its commitment to keeping what's left of the banking community afloat by guaranteeing its short-term debt via the FDIC, lending billions against shady collateral via the Fed, handing the investment banks capital infusions via the Treasury AND reducing interest rates to near-zero via the Fed.  So, let's just say that Goldman isn't still standing due to its own genius.  Regardless, if the investment bank makes it out of this mess alive, and the credit markets actually improve at some point within the next couple of years, Goldman will be poised to profit from the upturn.  But unlike those optimists who are currently buying the stock on this earnings announcement, I'm willing to wait until at least a small glimmer of hope is on the horizon.   

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