The Goldman Goose

At first blush Goldman Sachs (GS) reported impressive first quarter results. After reviewing the results, several writers noted some pretty interesting Goldman gimmicks.

Goldman's fiscal year ended November 28, 2008. Their first quarter covered the period December 27, 2008 through March 27, 2009. Uhm... WHERE IS DECEMBER?!

It appears that yesterday's press release failed to mention that Goldman changed their fiscal year to now end in December. However, the change was reported in their annual report released earlier this year:

"On December 15, 2008, our Board of Directors approved a change in our fiscal year-end from the last Friday of November to the last Friday of December. The change is effective for our 2009 fiscal year. Our 2009 fiscal year began December 27, 2008 and will end December 25, 2009, resulting in a one-month trasition period that began November 29, 2008 and ended December 26, 2008. Information on this one-month trasition period will be included in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended March 27, 2009."

In yesterday's press release they did report numbers for December only - a loss of $2.15 per share just for the month! This was also the month when the majority of the AIG payments would have taken place, so they were not even in the headline results reported for the quarter last night.

This small change makes all the comparisons between first quarter 2009 and first quarter 2008 (unrevised at December 2007 - February 2008) in the press release completely useless. Not only did Goldman drop a pretty rough month from the reported results, they were also able to include the results from the month of March which likely benefited substantially on the trading side given the market rally.

It is amazing that Goldman could decide on December 15th, halfway through a month they clearly knew was going to be difficult, that they would change their fiscal year to avoid reporting results for this month as part of their quarterly release.

The real question is where is mainstream media on this issue? No public outrage?? Anyone...? Bueller??

1 comment:

  1. The mainstream media just swallows as gospel anything Goldman tells them. The fact that Congress hasn't demanded a clawback of the tens of billions Hank Paulson gave to Goldman through a backdoor transaction using AIG is outrageous. I no longer have any faith in this Congress.