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Whitney to Goldman: What's the Endgame?

We’ve been critical of Meredith Whitney on “The Strategy Session”—especially when it came to her bearish call on the municipal-bond market. But Tuesday she deserves credit for posing what may be the investment community’s biggest question to Goldman Sachs on the heels of its first-quarter earnings.

Goldman Tuesday morning reported revenues of nearly $12 billion and net earnings of $2.7 billion, beating analyst consensus estimates by a mile.

The firm’s historically killer fixed-income, currency and commodities business was up dramatically from the fourth quarter of last year, but down 28 percent from the same period in 2010—better than some analysts hoped, but a comparative disappointment.

During the firm’s hour-long investor callwith chief financial officer David Viniar, there was a lot of talk about Goldman clients: what they wanted and didn’t want, how cautious and risk-averse they had become, how their approach to areas like leverage and distressed investing was driving the firm’s business. The analysts listened politely as Viniar declined to address many of their questions in detail—that is, until Whitney was given her two minutes. »Read More

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