Stories abound about how the Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) avoided the mortgage meltdown and generated $4 billion in profits on the bet that risky home loans would fall in value. That move was made by a small trading group, according to the Wall Street Journal.[subscription required] in the firm's mortgage department and it helped to offset the $1.5 billion to $2 billion in mortgage-related loses elsewhere in the firm. While most other financial institutions are losing big, Goldman expects to report a net annual income of more than $11 billion, according to today's Journal. They made lots of money selling those risky mortgage securities to unsuspecting clients.
That's great that Goldman called this mortgage meltdown early and I'm sure investors in Goldman's stock are very happy. But what about all the investors who took the advice of Goldman brokers to buy these risky mortgage-related securities? Why weren't they warned as well when the decision was made to dump the securities? Why should Goldman gain while its clients suffer?
Clearly someone needs to open an investigation into what kind of advice Goldman was giving its clients and how that advice differed from the actual trades Goldman was making. While buying Goldman's stock may be a good idea, it doesn't sound like being a Goldman client works well when the financial industry is facing a meltdown.
Lita Epstein has written more than 20 books including "Trading for Dummies" and "Reading Financial Reports for Dummies."