Goldman Sachs and Helicopter Ben

Econophile's picture

From The Daily Capitalist

Don't expect a thank you note from Goldman Sachs or any of the other banks that had perfect trading days in Q1. "Perfect" means that they had no days of trading losses for 63 trading days.

Goldman Sachs, which makes more money from sales and trading than any Wall Street firm, reported yesterday that it made at least $25 million trading every single day of the first quarter, the first perfect quarter in the company’s history. The company’s fixed-income, currencies and commodities business, known as FICC, and equities unit generate those returns by making markets for clients rather than betting the firm’s own money, Cohn said.

They weren't alone:

Four of the largest U.S. banks, including Citigroup Inc., racked up perfect quarters in their trading businesses between January and March, underscoring how government support and less competition is fueling Wall Street’s revival. Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the first, second and fifth-biggest U.S. banks by assets, all said in regulatory filings that they had zero days of trading losses in the first quarter. Citigroup Inc., the third-largest, doesn’t break out its daily trading revenue by quarter. It recorded a profit on each trading day, two people with knowledge of the results said.

You may ask: how is that possible? Are they that good? The reason is that they are taking advantage of free money from the Fed:

The trading profits of the Street is just another way of measuring the subsidy the Fed is giving to the banks,” said Christopher Whalen, managing director of Torrance, California-based Institutional Risk Analytics. “It’s a transfer from savers to banks.”

The trading results, which helped the banks report higher quarterly profit than analysts estimated even as unemployment stagnated at a 27-year high, came with a big assist from the Federal Reserve. The U.S. central bank helped lenders by holding short-term borrowing costs near zero, giving them a chance to profit by carrying even 10-year government notes that yielded an average of 3.70 percent last quarter.


The gap between short-term interest rates, such as what banks may pay to borrow in interbank markets or on savings accounts, and longer-term rates, known as the yield curve, has been at record levels. The difference between yields on 2- and 10-year Treasuries yesterday touched 2.71 percentage points, near the all-time high of 2.94 percentage points set Feb. 18.

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RockyRacoon's picture

Here we go -- news hot off the wire:

Prosecutors Ask if 8 Banks Duped Rating Agencies

The New York attorney general has started an investigation of eight banks to determine whether they provided misleading information to rating agencies in order to inflate the grades of certain mortgage securities, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation.

cbaba's picture

The Fed and the big banks are the same entities.

They rob all Americans..that's the name of the game.

Lets remember who owns FED :

nathan1234's picture

My last visit to the US in 2004. Even brokers and top people ( Harvard, Stanford) did not know that the Fed was a private bank. Attitude was who cares so long as we make money. Greed  and Wall Street are synonymous.

lucky 81's picture

wall street's 'man' is obama. they have their 'guy' on the inside. the seat is occupiedby their' 'gentleman'. boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy. physical gold and silver long.

Rick64's picture

How many more perfect trading quarters do they need to be solvent? When are they going to unravel their toxic assets with the massive profits they are making? This would help make the economy more stable, but instead they choose to pay outrageous bonuses. They are waiting for housing to rebound so they can unload the crap instead of acting in the interest of National security. This is further evidence that the government doesn't care about national security and neither do the TBTFs.

jp's picture

96-0!!!!! Left, Center, Right!!! America Wants Tough Banking Reform.

Janice's picture

America had tough banking reform from the Depresion Era, but then our US Congressmen revoked it.

mynhair's picture

What will we all do when GETCO is the Master of the Financial Universe?

moneymutt's picture

this hurts, but I must say it, good post, Econophile.

Crony capitalism, govt run amok, pseudo govt/private institution - the Fed run amok... whatever you call them...they are taking this money straight out of our hands..PARASITES...we need to detoxify

SteveNYC's picture

This is why I would give Osama quarter before Bernanke. This man is responsible for theft on a galactic level. Karma will bring him his just desserts for his theft from the middle class and his floating of the slave(debt)masters.

When it all goes down Ben, I'm going to enjoy seeing the laws of the universe shove themselves so far up your ass that you divide.

Brokenarrow's picture

"just deserts?" A heart attack would suit me just fine.

sheeple's picture

Give me my money back you bitches

moneymutt's picture

very direct talk for a sheeple...go back to the pasture and graze..ignore the wolf

jm's picture

It is incumbent upon all citizens to un-save.  This is your only protection... do what they want.  Manage risk and have a lean toward income, but be long GS.  Limitless swap lines mean get out of dollars before they kill it again.

You'll be much less angry.  

sschu's picture

The Fed and BB are killing the middle class and small business.  They have decided that the big banks must be "saved" and they will do anything to achieve this objective.

Maybe they can hold it together for a few months or even years.  Maybe it will never crash, who knows.  But the long term liabilities foisted upon the next generation(s) will insure dramatically lower standard of living and maybe something entirely worse.

This is all so wrong.




jm's picture

I don't disagree with anything you said at all.  It is so wrong.   

The question is how can you protect those you love when the Fed is deliberately destroying your savings to bail out banks and deadbeats.  Seems to me smart to avoid the next stage of dollar destruction ensured by a the swap lines set up by the Fed.

The "system" has been this way from the beginning.  Its true nature was obscure but now easy to see because things are coming apart at the seams.  Change isn't option.  It would just mean a new set of thieves in charge.   

dead hobo's picture

If banks didn't have trading profits, they wouldn't have any profits. Especially if FAS 157 applied as written. The Fed requires solvent big banks as a matter of economic and national security. The Fed will ensure that banks have capital for trades in order to keep the US economy from falling into an abyss.  As mentioned often in this space, the bid is in. Failure is not an option and the Fed will see to it by protecting bank profits, even if it involves keeping an asset bubble in place as a  national treasure.

FreakuentFlyer's picture

i would almost be "ok" with this plan. but the so called National security argument is being compromised by the syphoning into the employee bonuses.

Sudden Debt's picture

I don't like the name "Helicopter Ben"....

Can't we change that into "CHINOOK BEN"?


Crab Cake's picture

I'm getting really really tired of these people....

I'm ashamed of myself, this nation, and our government.  Stand up and fight.  Are you just going to let them rape you? 

Pistol Grip Pump - Rage Against The Machine

Pistol grip pump on my lap at all times
Pistol grip pump on my lap at all times
Pistol grip pump on my lap at all times
They can be fucking with other niggaz shit, but they can’t be fucking with mine

_Biggs_'s picture

"now I'm rollin' down Rodeo with a shotgun."

akak's picture

This is the pro-establishment response from our dear ZH contributor, Leo Kovilakis, to similar sentiments yesterday:

"Those banksters own you. You might not like it, and neither do I, but that's the reality. Accept it and move on. They can inflict untold misery on you."

(Please note that I do NOT agree with such a shamelessly spineless attitude myself.)

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Now tell me, they did this perfect trading through the winter "dip", and all of THIS is not orchestrated?

Duuude's picture

(Added to Article).....

"Then they take the float, gun tha market, wash tha profits from tha float and whateverthafuckelse and repo it back to tha Fed do it again and in tha meantime plan on using tha profits to pay their Billion$ in bunu$e$. Straight from your parents and childrens'pockets to them. Ain't life grand AmeriKa !"


Seems like money laundering.

Mojo's picture

When the government do it, it's not money laundering. There is no law against the Fed. Therefore it's all legal.

RockyRacoon's picture

So, the helicopters are in the air, but not over Main Street.

Ben never said what the flight plan was.... 

Nobody cornered him on that minor detail.

SteveNYC's picture

LOL!!!! "The Never Ending Bailout" definitely one of your finest.