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Monday April 19, 2010 - 13:35:30 GMT
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Which side of the trade was God on Mr. B?

O farewell,
Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th' ear-piercing fife;
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!
And O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
Th' immortal Jove's dread clamors counterfeit,
Farewell! Othello's occupation's gone.

William Shakespeare, Othello Act 3, scene 3, 350–357

FX Trading – Which side of the trade was God on Mr. B?

Since the break of the Goldman news, CNBC has turned itself into all-Goldman-all-the- time.  So, I preface this by saying there isn’t too much left to say, given what we do know now, but it’s just too darn fresh not to say something…

The lessons of hubris are learned over and over again by each “great” generation.  At one time in our lives most of us have fallen victim to its powerful clutch.  I have a very close and wise friend.  I met him during my stock brokerage years which were a long time ago.  He said to me one day: “You know, what we all need to do is stamp the word hubris on our wrists and look at it every day.”  Though not into tattoos, I think of his wise counsel often.  

When I read a while back that Goldman’s esteemed leader Mr. Lloyd Blankenfeld, told the Financial Times that Goldman was doing “God’s work” I thought of my friend and hubris.  Evidently Mr. B didn’t have hubris stamped on his wrist.  

Let’s face it: when a man becomes so deluded with his power that he dares to say his firm is doing “God’s work,” it’s no stretch to believe they are about as dirty as anyone can get.  

The evidence of this “dirtiness” has been out there for a long time.  Just think of all Goldman minions who have graced the many slots in our government—proudly and admirably through the years, I’m sure, extending God’s work again.  

Divine intervention is truly required to keep track of all the times you’ve watched TV, against your better judgment, to be treated to some ex-Goldman hack posing for a camera, elucidating on simple or arcane topics with the usual hubris-filled self-important edge seemingly groomed at the firm, to tell us “the way it is.”  

You can just read the expression on the face of the hapless info-guy or gal who gets the Goldman scoop: “Wow!  He’s from Goldman.”  Well, I don’t usually think about whether or not “he’s from Goldman,” when the interview is over.  I just get an urge to go take a hot shower hoping and praying I haven’t run out of soap.   

Well, the fact is, Goldman hires some smart people.  Goldman has information flow that dwarfs anything else the rest of us have.  That tends to make smart Goldman people seem even smarter. So when a Goldman man talks, it seems to the sycophantic financial reporting types as if Moses has once again brought the tablets down from the mountain.  Maybe this was to blame for Mr. B thinking he was doing “God’s work.”  Or could there be a much more logical explanation for all of this?

Let’s assume Mr. B is a mere mortal after all.  He feels pain.  He bleeds like we do.  He puts his pants on one leg at a time. Let’s also assume he really isn’t a bad guy (and he may be a very nice guy; I honestly cannot say having not had the opportunity to hang out and have a beer or two with him; which usually is quite telling).  Assuming all this, maybe he just couldn’t tell us that God in his eyes was John Paulson.  After all, the analogy fits.  Mr. Paulson makes more money than God ever did.  He is considered a God by the hedge fund world and by his investors.  

So, just maybe people like me may owe Mr. B and apology.  It appears the SEC may have cleared it all up for us—yes, Goldman was doing God’s work after all.  That’s what we get when we jump to conclusions.  Damn those Goldman guys are smart.

At least now we know which side of the trade God was on.

On Friday, I talked about liquidity at the margin possibly draining away from the Chinese credit bubble.  Most are blaming the Goldman affair for the plunge in global markets we’ve seen, and the big risk bid in the dollar.  I am sure there is truth to that.  From an economic point of view, it is yet another hit to credit at the margin, after all is said and done.  It gives our glorious overseers, the US government regulatory Keystone Cops, not Goldman, the opportunity to control even more credit in guise of “helping us.”

April 19 (Bloomberg) -- China led emerging-market declines as the Shanghai Composite Index slid 4.9 percent after the government told banks to stop loans for third-home purchases. [Chart not available in text format.]

And besides this, the rising Greek-German bond spread can’t be exactly comforting to markets….. [Chart not available in text format.]

…we know it’s not for the euro.

EURUSD Daily: Slipping back into that nice channel down?  Is the “correction” history? [Chart not available in text format.]

Jack Crooks
Black Swan Capital


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