Friday, May 8, 2009

Goldman Sachs Principal Transactions Update: 25% Drop

According to the most recent data out of the NYSE, Goldman's principal program trading dropped an astonishing 25%, hitting a many week low absolute number. Not only that, but the portion of Goldman's principal PT trades as a percentage of total, and as a multiple of agency and customer facilitation also dropped substantially. Now, if Goldman is indeed, in the words of Ed Canaday, merely providing market liquidity under the guise of the SLP program, did the NYSE all of a sudden just feel the need for much less liquidity last week? This is unlikely, as total NYSE PT dropped by a much smaller fraction than Goldman's portion, and all brokers' ex Goldman portion of PT was virtually flat at 1 billion shares week over week.

Did Goldman merely trade down on Friday, unknowing what the final resolution on the SLP program extension is? As Zero Hedge pointed out previously, market volume on May 1 was abnormally low. Did the NYSE not have a replacement Plan B for what would happen if Goldman can not be an SLP (if indeed that fully explains its high PT volume on the NYSE). Could any of these factors explain the dramatic drop? Inquiring minds still want to know (especially in the context of the disappearance of MS' bunker-busting SPY advertised volume since we started posting updates on it).

Curiously Morgan Stanley stepped in valiantly to pick up the slack in principal PT, trading 216 million shares, up from 160 million the week before.

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