We can finally put to rest any financial, economic, ideological or simply philosophical debates why stocks have risen over 300% since the March 2009 post-crisis lows of 666, and we have Lloyd Blankfein's underperformance mea culpa to thank for putting it so simply and succinctly, even a majority of fintwit might actually get it.
From today's CNBC interview:
Frost: Let’s touch on your earnings yesterday, Lloyd, which was a beat on every line and overall EPS, let’s talk about first of all about the bounceback in trading. There was a lot of focus on trading last year, back this quarter. Can that last the rest of the year or is it a one quarter bounceback, as it were?
Blankfein: If you asked it the opposite way, "this surely would last forever" I’d also discount that. Look, we don’t know. We’re more in the contingency planning business than the forecasting business but the conditions that prevail we’re not top decile or top quartile conditions in the world so, yes, they’re highly replicable I would say. Kind of feels almost standardish.
What didn’t feel standard were the conditions over the last couple of years. People will debate back and forth what’s normal what’s the new normal but conditions where interest rates are zero, yield curves are flat, there's no risk premium. Where central banks all around the world are buying all the risky assets which then therefore put a damper on volatility and the opportunities to perform, that’s not a natural state.
We have not reversed all of that, but we’re walking that back and walking to so the first indications of a withdrawal from what is an unnatural state. The market becomes a bit more volatile, people get compensated for the risk that they're taking. Our clients are doing better consequently we’re doing better with them. So I wouldn’t say we’re popping champagne corks. But we can certainly see what happens when we start to walk back towards a normal financial market.
And in that vein, one almost wonders - but not quite - if having seen his revenue soar during the February volocaust, Blankfein will tell his trading desk to create less volatility in the future, or more...
As excerpted from CNBC's full interview with Lloyd Blankfein this morning.