Goldman Sachs, the biggest US investment bank, is back making a billion dollars a month, same as it was in 2007. Its share price is back in the $160s, same as it was before Lehman Bros. blew up.
Is that a good thing? Depends on whether you see Goldman as America's premier dealmaker whose health is important to getting American business moving again - or as a giant hedge fund that's taking bigger-than-ever risks, now financed with public money, writes Bloomberg's Christine Harper here.
What's so special about Goldman? Unlike rivals Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., at Goldman "only millionaires can open checking accounts...
"Goldman Sachs exists to serve large corporations, governments, institutions and wealthy individuals. It makes money for them and for itself by trading assets ranging from stocks and bonds to oil futures and credit derivatives. In the first nine months of 2009, more than 90 percent of the company's pretax earnings came from trading and principal investments, which include market bets, stakes in corporate debt and equity, and assets such as power plants."