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Goldman Sachs Sold $250 Million of BP Stock Before Spill _ Raw Story

Goldman Sachs Sold $250 Million of BP Stock Before Spill _ Raw Story

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Page 1Goldman Sachs sold $250 million of BP stock before spill | Raw Story6/2/2010 2:55:17 PMhttp://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0602/month-oil-spill-goldman-sachs-sold-250-million-bp-stock/ 
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ByJohn ByrneWednesday, June 2
 
nd, 2010 -- 10:12 am
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Goldman Sachs sold $250 million of BP stock  before spill
Firm's stock sale nearly twice as large asany other institution; Represented 44percent of total BP investment
The brokerage firm that's faced the mostscrutiny from regulators in the past year overthe shorting of mortgage related securitiesseems to have had good timing when it cameto something else: the stock of British oilgiant BP.According to regulatory filings,RawStory.com has found that GoldmanSachssold 4,680,822 sharesof BP in thefirst quarter of 2010. Goldman's sales werethe largest of any firm during that time.Goldman would have pocketed slightly more than $266 million if their holdings were sold at theaverage price of BP's stock during the quarter.If Goldman had sold these shares today, their investment would have lost 36 percent its value, or $96 million. The share sales represented 44 percent of Goldman's holdings -- meaning that Goldman'sremaining holdings have still lost tens of millions in value.The sale and its size itself isn't unusual for a large asset management firm. Wall Street brokeragesroutinely buy and sell huge blocks of shares for themselves and their clients. In light of arecent SEClawsuitarguing that Goldman kept information about a product they sold from their clients, however,the stock sale may raise fresh concern among Goldman's critics. Goldman is also a frequent target ofliberals and journalists, including
Rolling Stone 
's Matt Taibbi, who famously dubbed the firm a"vampire squid."
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Page 2Goldman Sachs sold $250 million of BP stock before spill | Raw Story6/2/2010 2:55:17 PMhttp://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0602/month-oil-spill-goldman-sachs-sold-250-million-bp-stock/ 
Two calls placed to Goldman Sachs' media office in New York Wednesday morning after US marketsopened were not immediately returned, though Raw Story decided to publish the story quickly afterthe calls since the stock sale had beenalready noted online.
Others also sold stock 
Other asset management firms also sold huge blocks of BP stock in the first quarter -- but their saleswere a fraction of Goldman's. Wachovia, which is owned by Wells Fargo, sold 2,667,419 shares;UBS, the Swiss bank, sold 2,125,566 shares.Wachovia and UBS also sold much larger percentages of their BP stock, at 98 percently and 97percent respectively.Wachova parent Wells Fargo, however, bought 2.3 million shares in the quarter, largely discountingWachovia's sales.Thosereported buying BP's stockincluded Wellington Management, a large asset firm, and the Billand Melinda Gates Foundation.BP is struggling to cap a massive oil leak at one of its drill sites in the Gulf of Mexico. The firm'smyriad safety violationsover the years have come to light in lieu of the Gulf disaster.BP traded on average at $56.86 in the first quarter,according to GuruFocus, a site that monitors themajor trading moves of prominent investors. A list of major institutions' sales of BP stockare availableat the market research website Morningstar.It's certainly unknown as to why the firms sold their holdings. In its analysis of the company in mid-March, Morningstar, the market research site, gave the company an average rating of three out of apossible five stars."BP's valuation carries more uncertainty than ExxonMobil's or Shell's because the firm is lessintegrated, with more of its earnings coming from the [exploration and production] business than frompotentially offsetting refining operations," the site's analyst wrote. "Like its peers, a sustained drop inoil and gas prices can hurt upstream earnings. Lower crude-oil feedstock costs could help refiningmargins, but refined product pricing lags could quickly swing refining profits to losses. BP's globalbusiness faces potential disruptions caused by political risks, particularly with its heavy exposure toRussia. Disruptions caused by environmental and operational constraints could further limit earningspotential."The transnational oil company, like other energy giants, was hit with lower oil and gas prices in thepast year after the price of oil surged in 2008."BP's fourth quarter marked another quarter of year-over-year production gains, with a 3% increasethanks to new field startups," Morningstar's analyst wrote in another note, after BP turned in betterthan expected fourth quarter results in February. "BP reported fourth-quarter replacement cost profitof $3.4 billion, up 33% from year-ago earnings of $2.6 billion, as upstream earnings growth wasmore than enough to offset downstream weakness. For the full year, BP's earnings of $14 billionwere 45% below year-ago earnings of $26 billion, in part because of lower oil prices earlier in the
 
Page 3Goldman Sachs sold $250 million of BP stock before spill | Raw Story6/2/2010 2:55:17 PMhttp://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0602/month-oil-spill-goldman-sachs-sold-250-million-bp-stock/ 
year. We're encouraged by BP's sequential earnings gains as new projects and cost-cutting effortsdrive upstream results."The SECfiled a civil lawsuitagainst Goldman Sachs and one of its vice presidents in April, assertingthat the firm had committed fraud by misrepresenting a mortgage-investment product inherentlydesigned to fail. The company helped a hedge fund trader create a mortgage investment that gainedvalue as mortgage borrowers defaulted en masse.In response, Goldmansaid the SEC's chargeswere “completely unfounded in law and fact” andaverred that it would “vigorously contest them and defend the firm and its reputation.”The firm has also faced criticism over giant bonuses paid to staff amidst the US financial crisis.Goldman reduced the sizes of its staff bonuses this year to $16.9 billion, and said it would pay itschief executive$9 million, far less than the previous year.Goldman also announced it would create a $500 million program to help small businesses. Criticsnoted that the figure represented just 3% of the bonus pool.
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lilyannrose and 12 more liked this
hmmm, saw this posted on Huff Post, didn't take it seriously at first:If I shorted Gulf stocks the day before this platform explosion and bought a company that puts out oil well fires
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