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Ear to the Ground

Goldman Sachs Sags in Third Quarter

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Posted on Oct 18, 2011
AP / Mark Lennihan

New Yorkers walk to work outside the Goldman Sachs mothership in Manhattan.

Even bad news has a way of turning around fast for Goldman Sachs. The financial giant was forced to concede Tuesday that it did not, for once, defy the laws of market physics as it has done even in the throes of the ongoing recession (you can keep your sketchy recession timeline, New York Times), and that it had actually taken a heavy hit in the third quarter.

In fact, Goldman, that prized incubator of our nation’s treasury secretaries, lost more than a third of a billion dollars in Q3—more precisely, $393 million, or 84 cents per share, by the Los Angeles Times’ count. This is not a time for swilling Champagne, or pouring it on “dumb non tax paying hippies,” in this corner of Wall Street.

But lo, hope springs anew, as it always does for Goldman Sachs. News of the loss mysteriously inspired investors to put their money on a comeback, which Bloomberg registered later that day. “Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) rose as much as 5.5 percent in New York trading as investors looked past a third-quarter loss and focused on gains in trading revenue and prospects for a rebound in underwriting and takeovers,” said the MSM mouthpiece that Mayor Mike built. Think positive!

To add more maddening context to the mix, several news outlets pointed out that this is the first quarterly setback the firm has suffered since the start of the current economic crisis (again, read: ongoing recession). The BBC reached back even farther to note that the loss “was only its second since the bank’s flotation in 1999.” That said, the blow has registered within Goldman’s walls, as the corporation’s employment figures dropped by 1,300 during those troubled three months, the L.A. Times reported.  —Kasia Anderson

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