INSTANT VIEW: Goldman Sachs reports $2.2 billion net loss

NEW YORK Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:57am EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc reported its first quarterly loss since going public nine years ago as the plunging value of stocks, debt and real estate caught up with a Wall Street leader that had largely avoided fallout from the global credit crisis.

Goldman posted a net loss of $2.12 billion, or $4.97 a share, for the fourth quarter ended November 28, compared with record net income of $3.2 billion, or $7.01 a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, analysts, on average, had expected a loss of $3.73 a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

The following is reaction from industry analysts and investors:

STEVE GOLDMAN, MARKET STRATEGIST, WEEDEN & CO IN GREENWICH, CONNECTICUT

"Investors have been anticipating the worst. It was weaker than expected, but maybe that has to do with how they're marking it. Maybe they're getting it out of the way in the fourth quarter here."

"There is a slight concern that if they're marking paper a little bit more severely than someone else, will others have to follow? The initial reaction will be that Goldman is trading up, which would benefit the financial sector, which is pretty oversold and looking to rebound."

"We're still somewhat dependent on the financial sector to lead us and so far this week the banks have been a bit suspect here. Hopefully we have the next day or two led by results (from) Goldman Sachs can get us out of the starting gate at least."

CHRIS HOSSAIN, SENIOR SALES MANAGER AT ODL SECURITIES, LONDON

"It's not as bad as expected. People obviously had factored $2 billion losses and the fear was going to be $4 billion. It's a bit of a relief."

TIM SMALLS, HEAD OF U.S. STOCK TRADING AT BROKERAGE FIRM EXECUTION LLC IN GREENWICH, CONNECTICUT

"The stock is up from the standpoint that everyone had been expecting this to be the proverbial kitchen sink quarter for Goldman - they were going to throw as much of the nonsense as they could possibly find into this quarter.

I think the number on people's radar screen was much bigger as they try to clear the books to start the next year."

ROBERT LUTTS, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CABOT MONEY MANAGEMENT IN SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS

"The numbers were fairly well anticipated."

"Expectations are very low for the sector today and that may mean there's some kind of a floor set here."

"I think going forward, what kind of business does Goldman Sachs have? There's a huge question mark at this point."

"This whole change from an investment bank to a bank is a big question mark."

"Goldman Sachs still has some of the brightest minds and some of the most capable people working in their firm and that's always going to have some valuable."

"Does the world need those services right now, that's the biggest issue?"

WALTER TODD, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, GREENWOOD CAPITAL ASSOCIATES, GREENWOOD, SOUTH CAROLINA:

"The fear in the market was, the results would be much worse than they were. So the stock is rallying.

"If you buy Goldman Sachs today, you need to have faith in the management team -- that they'll be able to adapt to the new world order as a bank holding company. They have a good, smart management team. I'm sure they'll adapt, but you're taking a leap of faith."

(Reporting by Dominic Lau in London; Deepa Seetharaman, Dan Wilchins, Leah Schnurr and Elinor Comlay in New York)

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