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Goldman Sachs

Goldman Plays Defense With Consumer Loan Initiative

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs' new consumer loan initiative is designed to keep the Wall Street giant ahead of the growing number of non-bank lenders making inroads. These firms, like peer-to-peer lenders Prosper and Lending Club, are growing fast. Goldman has some big advantages, though - which make its entry into the consumer loan market undoubtedly a smart move.

In the past...

Goldman Sachs Calls for a "Flat" S&P 500

goldman sachs

Goldman's recent forecast calls for basically no gains on the S&P 500 over the next 12 months. That's got some investors spooked and looking for the exits.

But Keith believes we need to look at what Goldman does, not what it says...

JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) Is the Latest Target on Goldman Sachs' "Hit List"

NYSE: JPM

JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM) is about to become Goldman Sachs' newest toy. Except its version of "playing" is "smashing it into pieces."

That's right, Goldman Sachs has joined a bandwagon of analysts calling for JP Morgan Chase to break up. And since Goldman Sachs is simply the best at what it does - good and evil - their mission shouldn't be too hard.

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Earnings Reports 2015: Next Week’s Top Results

Q4 earnings calendar

The beginning of January marks the start of Q4 earnings season.

Among the first ones up this year include an aluminum producer, a tech giant, and a few massive banking firms.

Here’s a look at each company on next week’s calendar of earnings releases.

How Goldman Sachs and D.C. Hosed AIG – and the Taxpayers

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs and the U.S. government have long had a special bond. In fact, that bond has its own name: Crony Capitalism.

Or maybe they're not just cronies; they're lovebirds. Will the public ever get a chance to see this close-fisted couple finally separate? The answer: Maybe. That's thanks to a trial that should have ended over a month ago - one in which 30,000 damning new documents have been made public.

And you won't believe what they reveal...

Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) Lines Up Its Next Victim: Ecuador

pirate flag treasure

Unbowed by fines and new regulations, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) has simply looked elsewhere for fresh victims.

In a deal that barely registered with the mainstream media, Ecuador's central bank agreed earlier this week to swap half of its gold reserves - worth $580 million - with Goldman in exchange for liquid assets.

The Ecuadorian central bank thinks it's going to earn $16 million to $20 million in profit over the three-year duration of the deal.

But Ecuador doesn't seem to realize it's dealing with Wall Street's most notorious pirate...

Goldman Sachs' Most Dangerous Trade

Here's something you probably don't know, and it will really tick you off.

You probably do know the biggest banks in the world have commodities businesses.

Those lines of business might include trading desks (trading everything from gold and copper to kilowatts), transportation (pipelines, railcars and tankers) and storage (warehousing) operations, mining operations, as well as production, refining, and raw and finished commodity distribution operations.

What you probably don't know is that one of the "commodities" a few of these monster banks (Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank) trade is...are you ready?

Okay, I'll tell... but you won't believe it.

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Don't Be Fooled by Goldman Sachs' (NYSE: GS) Earnings Beat

Stock Market Performance Today

Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) stock rose 1.22% yesterday (Wednesday) to $178.75, ahead of today's Q4 earnings release.

Analysts project EPS of $4.21 on revenue of $7.71 billion. Those figures are down from last year, when GS reported EPS of $5.60 on revenue of $9.24 billion.

The bank is scheduled to report earnings at 7:30 A.M. EST and will follow up with a conference call at 9:30 A.M.

GS stock has performed well lately, up 10% in the last three months and 29% in the last year.

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Goldman Sachs, the Judas Penguin, and the Tip of the Iceberg

Emperor Penguins

News from Wall Street this week reminded me of the penguins that inhabit the icy, turbulent waters of the Southern Ocean.

These penguins are preyed upon mercilessly by tremendous, ravenous orcas - a terrible beast to feel gnawing on your leg if you derive your daily bread from the frozen, watery wastes.

But the penguins have devised a clever, if brutal, warning system.

A flock of penguins will gather apprehensively at waters' edge... and one luckless penguin will be pushed into the sea. If the penguin is ripped to shreds by killer whales, the rest will hang back a while.

Otherwise, the rest of the flock piles into the briny deep.

Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) bond trader Fabrice Tourre is one of those luckless, doomed penguins.

The predator in this case is unlikely: a normally toothless flounder otherwise known as the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Fabrice Tourre, a bond trader of the middling ranks, was earlier this week found liable for six of seven fraud charges relating to Goldman Sachs' trading of toxic mortgage assets.

The civil trial - a rare prosecution - provided a rare victory to the SEC, who, after a loss and a draw, are desperate for a win. At issue was whether or not a full $1 billion worth of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) were fraudulently marketed.

They were.

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Meet the New "Masters of the Universe" and Profit from Them

When I first got into the financial industry some two decades ago, the hottest career was in investment banking, the home of the financial "Masters of the Universe."
Hedge funds in particular were all the rage.
A good gig at a company like Goldman Sachs was the place to be, so I joined Goldman in their hedge fund group to learn the business from some of the best and brightest minds.
Working for a hedge fund quickly became Wall Street's glamor job, the new address for the Masters of the Universe.
Then, after the financial crisis hit and many hedge funds took their licks, the smartest minds and smartest money moved elsewhere -- and unlike investment banking, this isn't off limits to you, the retail investor.
Let's take a look at each one...

Goldman Sachs' "Warehouse Shuffle" Just Cost You $5 Billion

Construction forklift

It's just another game for Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) - a "warehouse shuffle" that moves aluminum around while the big bank collects rent on the metal.

Although the rent on the stored aluminum - Goldman isn't allowed to actually own the commodity - is just pennies a day, the vast amount of the metal it has stored in its 27 Detroit warehouses and the "warehouse shuffle" strategy that enables it to extend the rental period for months on end adds up.

Through the Metro International Trade Services subsidiary it bought in 2010, Goldman has accumulated 1.4 million tons of aluminum, which it stores at about 48 cents per ton per day. That's about $672,000 per day of revenue - nearly half a billion a year.

Experts say the warehouse shuffle game ultimately raises the price of aluminum to manufacturers - everything from beer and soda companies to automakers. That extra cost, about $5 billion over the past three years, is passed on to consumers - you and me.

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The Dirty Secret Behind Goldman Sachs' Conviction Buy List

Blank Clipboard

When Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) kicked Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) off its celebrated Conviction Buy List, casual observers might have seen the move as yet another blow to a battered stock.

But don't be surprised if Apple stock rallies in the months ahead.

That's because when you look at the record, most stocks that get dropped from Goldman's Conviction Buy List - a frequently updated list of equities the bank says will outperform the market - don't falter.

In fact, over the past six months, most of the stocks that Goldman has booted off the Conviction Buy List have gone up, and several have actually outperformed the market.

That might seem strange but for Goldman's checkered past.

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It Looks Like the Market Is Saying "OMG"

Today I want to talk about a few things I've been scratching my head over lately.

First, about those polls leading up to the presidential contest.

How come they were so wrong? How come the candidates were inches apart right up to the finish line, and then it's like a "tortoise and the hare" kind of ending?

Did Romney even finish? Is he finished? Is the Republican Party finished?

Maybe the problem is the questions they ask, the pollsters, that is, or the way they ask them. Maybe they ask questions like a lawyer leading a witness would.

You have to wonder who pays for those polls, too. Survey says: the Super PACs - or is that the stupid hacks? Don't you wish they'd post the questions they asked along with the "Survey Says" results?

And, how stupid are the markets, make that investors, you know who you are. The day of the election, the market was anticipating a Romney victory, after all the polls said it was more than possible, so we got a smart little rally.

Then reality set in. Four more years. And you think it's going to get better?

Here's something else to chew on. If you think the Republicans are going to roll over and play dead, now that they are dead, think again.

The only way to fight back when you're dead is to kill the other guy, so you're both dead. Then, of course, you say, I was dead first, I couldn't have killed the economy, I couldn't have driven us over the fiscal cliff, they did it!

It looks like the market is saying, OMG (that's Oh My God, for you non-texters), we're going over the cliff and there's no stopping us.

Trust me on this one, that cliff everyone's been talking about - it ain't the only cliff.

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Forget Goldman Sachs; Only Fools Rush In

Is Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) playing us all for Muppets when they say stocks now present a generational buying opportunity?

The investment bank's 40-page bullish report, titled "The Long Good Buy: The Case for Equities," says to forget the huge run-up since 2009, forget the 25% rise in equities over the last five-and-a-half months, and forget bonds. This party is just getting started.

Are they right? Yes, they are.

Should you heed their advice and sell your bonds and load up the truck with equities? Hell no.

Goldman's report is like me forecasting increasing dark towards evening. It's too obvious. Of course stocks are a better buy than bonds in the long run when bond yields are so low.

But there's this little problem of timing that they don't address.

If you load up on equities now, and there's a correction, or worse, a double-dip in major market economies, and you get taken to the cleaners, unless you're young enough to hold onto your stocks for a generation, you may be done... as in toast.

Right now is not the time to jump onto the bull market. It looks great, I agree. But this creature is getting restless, and coming into the spring, some caution may be warranted.

If you want to get in, have patience. There's plenty of time, if the markets are presenting a generational buying opportunity.

By the way, they already have had a generational run, and you probably missed it. Did you load up in March 2009? Did you load up in October of last year?

Piling on right now is exactly when the fools rush in. Forget Goldman. You know they fleece their clients. Just because you aren't a client doesn't mean they're not out to use you, too.

The markets didn't rally on the Goldman report. They shrugged it off as mere public relations, perhaps to defray that conversation about the firm playing its clients like puppets.

What drove markets last week was China. There are increasing worries that the Chinese economy may be slowing more than anticipated. If that is the case, if Chinese GDP growth slows to below 7.5%, global markets will cool down. If its GDP growth falls to 5%, or lower, global markets could crash.

Yes, I mean crash, as in, drop 50% in short order.

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The "Sweet Spot": Goldman Sachs Bullish on Oil and Gas Pipeline Companies


Nothing like having Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) confirm what we've already been saying for a year.

But last week, Goldman Sachs reminded us that they are bullish on the oil and gas pipeline sector by upgrading a number of portfolio stocks that have been prominent features of our portfolios and discussion on the sector.

Goldman analysts made headlines last week by adding a number of pipeline firms to their "Conviction Buy" list. The company added Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB) while dropping Buckeye Partners L.P. Nonetheless, Goldman still rates Buckeye as a "Buy."

Goldman also raised a number of additional stocks to the buy list, including Plains All American Pipeline LP (NYSE: PAA), and maintained its "Buy" ratings on Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD), and Enduro Royalty Trust (NYSE: NDRO), and Magellan Midstream Partners (NYSE: MMP).

The reason for these moves shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who follows us at Oil and Energy Investor.

The Sweet Spot in Oil and Gas Pipeline Companies

It's not surprising that Goldman Sachs is so bullish on the pipeline industry. After all, my colleague Dr. Kent Moors has been touting the best known secret on the markets for more than a year.

If you want to make money in energy investing, you want to park yourself right in the middle of the supply chain. By doing so, you're far less susceptible to price fluctuations in the underlying commodity, and you are able to collect easy profits from the growing demand in fuels.

Midstream companies, those that connect the upstream exploration and production companies to the downstream retail, refining and marketing channels, provide vital services in transportation, storage, and processing.

Simply put, this is the "Sweet Spot" of energy investing.

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