How can a firm that never loses money be so totally wrong?
Just this Monday, Goldman Sachs helped to gap the markets higher at the open in low-volume futures trading with the following pronouncement: "Goldman Sachs resumes coverage on Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) and gave DELL a Buy rating at a 12-month price target of $19. Goldman believes that DELL will benefit from a corporate PC refresh cycle and will show better earnings as DELL is trying to optimize its cost structure. Goldman believes Dell will report better than expected earnings and beat analysts’ expectations. Goldman expects DELL to report earnings of $1.09 for CY2009 and $1.37 for CY2010 from their previous estimates of $1.07 for CY2009 and $1.35 for CY2010." Fact is, they missed by a mile.
That report took Dell up 2% for the day and the Dow gained 150 points and we were dumbfounded by the move, both in DELL, who were swallowing a difficult acquisition of Perot Systems and of the market, which acted like $31Bn DELL is the same kind of bellwether that $120Bn HPQ is, even if Goldman’s report had been even close to accurate. As it was, they couldn’t have been more wrong if they were playing "opposite day." How is it that a firm that has only 3 losing trading days in 6 months can be this amazingly wrong on crucial analysis?
So is Goldman actually stupid and, as many have implied, simply cheating to rack up their amazing market gains or are they intentionally manipulating the markets. Former GS-employee Jim Cramer jumped right on the bandwagon on Monday afternoon and told viewers that "obviously," since DELL is going to do so well (because GS says so) that INTC and MSFT must be buys too.
This is how manipulative stock pumping works – start a rumor, push it out through the media, extrapolate the rumor out to affect market-moving stocks that don’t even have upcoming news events and then tell people they are missing an opportunity, even after the train has left the station (by Cramer’s 2:30 spot on Monday, the Nasdaq had already hit the high for the week, peaking out exactly at the moment Cramer told his retail investors to pile into the market).