Firm’s stock sale nearly twice as large as any other institution; Represented 44 percent of total BP investment

The brokerage firm that’s faced the most scrutiny from regulators in the past year over the shorting of mortgage related securities seems to have had good timing when it came to something else: the stock of British oil giant BP.

According to regulatory filings, has found that Goldman Sachs sold 4,680,822 shares of BP in the first quarter of 2010. Goldman’s sales were the largest of any firm during that time. Goldman would have pocketed slightly more than $266 million if their holdings were sold at the average price of BP’s stock during the quarter.

If Goldman had sold these shares today, their investment would have lost 36 percent its value, or $96 million. The share sales represented 44 percent of Goldman’s holdings — meaning that Goldman’s remaining holdings have still lost tens of millions in value.

Goldman is also a frequent target of liberals and journalists, including Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, who famously dubbed the firm a “vampire squid.”

In a related story, BP CEO dumped a third of his holding two weeks before the gusher. Since we don’t believe in conspiracies, we’ll just call this a happy coincidence.

  1. deowll says:

    There seem to have been a few people that thought somebody was cutting some corners relating to safety at least one of whom is now dead.

    If you think a company doing high risk work is cutting safety corners on a project like this you get out because when the dung hits the fan rather than a rabbit pill, somebody getting injured or even killed, it could be cargo ship full of bleep, a major fire/blast that does millions or billions in damage.

    Even if you want to stay invested with the company you want to get out until after the event and the stocks have crashed while someone else takes the loss then buy back in when the stock is at rock bottom.

    I for one suspect that BP and the entire oil industry is a lot more safety conscious than it was a few months back.

  2. MikeN says:

    2 days before, sometime during the 3 months, what’s the difference. Of course if they knew something was up, they would have dumped all of it. The BP CEO had about $10 mil in salary and $10 mil in stock, and sold off about $3 mill to pay off a mortgage.

  3. Benjamin says:

    Then there was collusion between the government and Goldman Sachs to blow up the well. I know Obama had something to do with this.

  4. Godfish says:

    I’m now convinced that Goldman has a time machine!

    @deowll<—- Shut your BP Loving mouth, Your words are Dbl speak. BP and the Oil companies are only worried about MONEY and IMO will kill to make a profit. It's cheaper to payoff the families then make the saftey corrections, This is the American way!!!

    Shut up slave?? Ya I know but I don't have to like it…

  5. MikeN says:

    Matt Lauer: Have you spoken directly with the CEO of BP?

    Barack Obama: I have not spoken to him directly and here’s the reason, because my experience is, when you talk to a guy like the BP CEO, he’s going to say all the right things to me. I’m not interested in words. I’m interested in actions . . .

    Matt Lauer: In all due respect, that seems strange to me.

    So he’ll meet with Chavez and other world leaders without preconditions, but BP might give him the runaround.

  6. brm says:


    Great. So our president can’t see through bullshit?

    Is he afraid he’ll fall for the BP CEO’s mind-control tricks?

  7. chuck says:

    Hypothetical conversation between Barack Obama and the BP CEO:

    BO: Fix the leak and clean up the mess!
    BP CEO: uh, we’re working on the leak. Some things didn’t work, and some have been partly successful.
    BO: You need to fix it faster!
    BP CEO: the engineers are working as fast as they can.
    BO: If you don’t fix it, I’ll fire you and get someone else!
    BP CEO: well, you can’t fire me. besides, who will you get to fix it?
    BO: I’ll send James Cameron – he can fix it.
    BP CEO: I’m sure James Cameron is an excellent diver and has a great deal of experience with underwater remote vehicles. But fixing an oil well 1 mile down with oil gushing out of it is a little different than making a movie in a water tank.
    BO: You CEOs all say the right things. I’m not interested in words. I’m interested in actions!
    BP CEO: Uh, ok, can I go now?

  8. bobbo, a student of history who reads too little says:

    Yea, it is amusing to see a person project their own values so explicitly.

    Here’s a good exercise: ask your kiddie how many people their age smoke cigarettes, are on the pill or anything else you want to know about. The higher the percentage given, the more likely your kiddie is projecting what they are doing onto an unknown statistic. Wives will do the same thing about infidelity and how many wives spit into their husbands food, or fake orgasms.

    Its all the same thing: PROJECTION. and now you know how opinions are formed. You might review of few of your own.

  9. Winston says:

    “So our president can’t see through bullshit?”

    It’s ALL bullshit on BOTH the government and corporate side. Always has been, always will be.

  10. brm says:


    “Of course if they knew something was up, they would have dumped all of it.”

    They own so much of it that this was probably not possible.

  11. Brian says:

    very true. especially at a premium price. And if other stock trading firms saw a big dump coming, they would be inclined to also dump theirs in order to not lose their shirt. it would be interesting to see what the result of that kind of stock dumping into the market was, a snapshot of all BP stock trading for the day, hour by hour. maybe GS will get hit with some insider trading investigation?

  12. theBadSteveO says:

    Speaking of conspiracies….

    Didn’t this huge oil spill take Congress’s attention away from more regulations of the financial industry? It sounds plausible that GS and BP deliberately caused the leak.

  13. Anon says:

    #5 Obie doesn’t need to speak to the CEO. Rahm already has that part handled…

  14. ramuno says:

    “So he’ll meet with Chavez and other world leaders without preconditions, but BP might give him the runaround.”

    So, you think world leaders are MORE devious than corporate executives?

  15. Dexton7 says:

    I think that Goldman Sachs either knew about the ‘scheduled’ oil spill disaster ahead of time and jumped on it… or they have a highly trained saboteur(s) on the oil rig somewhere. Any of these possibilities is detestable.

    I would say that Goldman Sachs have lucky educated guesses on these things, but I somehow cannot bring myself to believe that one. And why is Haliburton seem to always be around when disaster strikes in these large operations?

    Regarless of the setup, I feel badly for those that lost their lives in this incident.

  16. JimD says:

    Classic INSIDER TRADING !!! They make money the old fashioned way – THEY STEAL IT !!! How else can they make OVERNIGHT MILLIONAIRES ??? Send in the SEC AND THE FBI !!! Won’t have to wait for the Board to Fire the BP CEO – he will be THROWN IN JAIL !!!

  17. aslightlycrankygeek says:

    I don’t think there is anything to this story. I just did a Google search for it, and I can’t find any reference to this except for a few kook websites.

    The story this post is referencing seems to be the original story, and all he is doing is looking at institutional selling on :

    There are 5 other institutions selling a bigger percentage of their shares than Goldman Sachs. If you look at the institutions buying, there are just as many increasing their shares by more than 50%. These guys buy and sell positions for themselves and their funds. That is what they do. And this was in the first quarter, not days before the disaster.

    Pick any stock and you can see lots of big institutions selling large percentages of their positions. Take the link above, and replace BP with any other stock symbol. My first try was with Intel:
    Oh, look! Goldman Sachs sold a big portion of their Intel stock the first quarter. Do they know something about their fabs exploding? I guess they are not as sure of it as Wachovia, who sold 97% of their Intel stock.

    Give me a break! I know JCD like conspiracy theories, but this is really pushing it.

  18. Buzz says:

    See the whole story on SyFy.

  19. Ah_Yea says:

    aslightlycrankygeek nails it.

  20. The Big Wink says:

    Nothing to see here, move along.

  21. Oilfield Worker says:

    There are rumors in the Gulf oilfield that the BP Representative on the Horizon directed the drilling company (Transocean) to pump sea water into the well bore. Normally, weighted drilling fluids (mud) is used to counteract the pressure of “kicks”.

    The kicks had been occurring for quite a few days prior to the disaster. Kick: An intrusion of pressurized gas into the wellbore that causes a displacement of of drilling fluid. This can be the beginning of a blowout.

    The Transocean people argued that it was ridiculous to put sea water in the well, all to no avail. The rest, as they say, is history.


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