NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Goldman Sachs (GS_) was the Winner among the largest U.S. financial names early Thursday afternoon, with shares rising over 4% to $120.04.
KBW analyst David Konrad on Thursday reiterated his "Outperform" rating for Goldman, with a $140 price target, despite a couple of negative disclosures in the company's annual 10-K filing on Wednesday.
Goldman disclosed that it had received a Wells notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission, regarding its offering documents for a $1.3 billion subprime mortgage securitization in 2006, and added that it expected to face additional regulatory action and litigation in connection with the mortgage pool. Konrad said that "although the headline is negative, GS is well reserved for potential litigation and should not be materially impacted by the investigation."
Goldman was also named in a class action lawsuit springing from the bankruptcy of MF Global, in connection with to offerings of MF Global convertible notes, for failing to adequately disclose MF Global's European debt exposure. With the notes in question totaling $575 million and Goldman's underwritten portion totaling $214 million, Konrad said he didn't "believe this issue [was] material.
As you may (or may not) recall, Goldman Sachs also bet on a housing meltdown in the U.S. via AIG credit default swaps and then had those swaps made good by Uncle Sam as part of the banking bailouts.
McClatchy's inquiry found that Goldman Sachs:
Bought and converted into high-yield bonds tens of thousands of mortgages from subprime lenders that became the subjects of FBI investigations into whether they'd misled borrowers or exaggerated applicants' incomes to justify making hefty loans.
Used offshore tax havens to shuffle its mortgage-backed securities to institutions worldwide, including European and Asian banks, often in secret deals run through the Cayman Islands, a British territory in the Caribbean that companies use to bypass U.S. disclosure requirements.
Has dispatched lawyers across the country to repossess homes from bankrupt or financially struggling individuals, many of whom lacked sufficient credit or income but got subprime mortgages anyway because Wall Street made it easy for them to qualify.
Was buoyed last fall by key federal bailout decisions, at least two of which involved then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a former Goldman chief executive whose staff at Treasury included several other Goldman alumni.
The firm benefited when Paulson elected not to save rival Lehman Brothers from collapse, and when he organized a massive rescue of tottering global insurer American International Group while in constant telephone contact with Goldman chief Blankfein. With the Federal Reserve Board's blessing, AIG later used $12.9 billion in taxpayers' dollars to pay off every penny it owed Goldman.
This proving, once again, that it pays to have high friends in places.
Anyone need some hope with their spare change?
(Cross-posted at Whiskey Fire. Mouse over pics for captions, and click them for larger versions.)
UPDATE: Scott Horton at Harper's has 6 questions for Tom Engelhardt, author of The United States of Fear.
2. In diagnosing the “National Security Complex,” you suggest that America’s democratic institutions are under a quiet but steady assault. What do you mean by this concept, and where do you think it’s taking us?
In my book, I say that we are now in a “post-legal America” when it comes to the National Security Complex. What that means is simple enough. The U.S. legal system, which still applies to you and me, really no longer applies to the national-security state.
Thought of another way, only one prosecutable crime exists today—under the Espionage Act, no less—for anyone in the complex: whistleblowing. In other words: do what you want, just don’t tell Americans what goes on in these precincts or we’ll take you down.
Further Update: White Riot