Yesterday we discussed the statistically impossible trading desk results of Goldman Sachs, which reported in its 10Q that it lost money on exactly 0 days last quarter, and was profitable on 63 out of 63 days. Today we find that the rape and pillage of the middle class was not isolated to Goldman, and that JP Morgan also had a flawless quarter. And if the odds of Goldman making 63 out of 63 are virtually impossible in any universe in which risk goes hand in hand with return (but in those in which monopolies are encouraged and bailed out), the coincidence of the two main firms that control the world having a perfect track record is impossible2. And since things in reality tend to be zero sum, when everyone makes money, someone may be tempted to ask the question, just who is losing money? And the answer, dear taxpayers, and [Goldman|JPMorgan] clients, is you.
On this background, the performance by Morgan Stanley in which the firm disclosed a massive 4 loss days (granted in the smallest possible bucket), is downright pathetic. If MS, unlike GS and JPM, is unable to rape and pillage the middle class and its clients with impunity, it surely deserves to not be bailed out the next time the market implodes.
And going down the investment bank foodchain we end up with Jefferies, whose trading performance this quarter was deplorable not only compared to the abovementioned fine examples of perfection, but its own performance in Q1 2009.
And for those who want to laugh long and hard, here is the simply hilarious defense that Goldman's Gary Cohn came up with to defend his firm's prop trading monopolistic bonanza. Via Bloomberg:
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s infrequent sales and trading losses are evidence that the division doesn’t depend on proprietary trading to generate revenue, President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn said.
“There is often speculation that proprietary trading revenues drive our outperformance in these businesses,” Cohn said today at a financial services conference hosted by UBS AG in New York. “Over the last 12 months we have only recorded 11 loss days. It is implausible that a proprietary-driven business model could be right 96 percent of the time.”
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.
“The simple answer is that our FICC and equities businesses are largely global market-making businesses where we intermediate flows and commit capital and liquidity and in the process generate revenue including bid-offer spreads,” Cohn said. “These franchises create numerous opportunities for the firm.”