The consensus amongst former U.S. prosecutors is that any criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs is routine and highly unlikely to result in a prosecution.
But the consenus amongst investors is 'who cares.'
As blow after blow falls on the firm—and even as people close to Goldman tell me it has seen no negative effect on its dominance in various markets—worries are growing about how long the company can withstand such a sustained attack.
While the risk of a criminal prosecution may be minimal at best, it is still hard to analyze. And were there to be criminal indictment, all bets are off.
Another risk difficult to measure is that Goldman's franchise could be impaired. And so we have seen sustained selling of the stock today. It's a stock that has seen 220 million shares change hands since the SEC brought its civil fraud complaint two weeks ago.
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