Live Blogging the Goldman Conference Call

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11:00. Waiting for the webcast to load. Seems a bit slow.
11:04. We're going to sue Time Warner. Our broadband connection is awful.
11:07. Game on.
11:08. Straight forward financial information from David Viniar, Goldman CFO. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda. The real action is always in the Q&A.
11:11. Reporting weaker markets late in quarter depressed equity performance. If this were Star Magazine the headline would be: "Goldman Sachs! They're just like us!"
Continued after the jump.


11:17. UBS up first. Sounds like they are looking for Goldman to make some hopeful noises about the investment banking business inspite of downturn in stock markets. Goldman resists attempts to be lured into happy talk.
Goldman (all quotes are very approximate: "Decline in equity markets has not been mirrored in other markets. Credit markets still strong. Corporate activity levels remain strong. The $64K question is if weak markets persist, will they remain strong. We don't know the answer to that."
11: 20. Merrill's turn. Wants to know whether investors are deleveraging, especially hedge funds. Goldman says that a lot of hedge funds have had tough Mays and early Junes, but most of that is probably giving back just a portion of the great gains from earlier in the year. They are in a risk reduction mode but not a panic mode.
11:26. Bear Stearns. Since mid-May through today things have gotten more difficult. Were things worse in May or June?
Goldman: It's really hard to say as a question of degree. It didn't feel good when I walked in here at 11.
[Translation: Sucks is sucks, both before and after Memorial Day.]
11:34. Goldman: Headcount growth expected to be what it was last year, in the high single digits.
[Translation: You're still not getting a second-round interview at Goldman.]
11:37. Finally. Change in CEO question from Prudential. Took 20 minutes of questions. DealBreaker Question: If any other company were changing its CEO, would analysts really wait 20 minutes to start asking about it? DealBreaker's answer: They would if the company was as tight lipped as Goldman Sachs!
Here's Goldman's answer to questions about the CEO: "We will not operate any different than we have always operated."

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