Wall Street: Still Insanely Profitable

Bloomberg is running a story headlined "A

$45 Billion Writedown Won’t Stop Wall Street Profit", saying that Wall

Street is poised to have its second-most-profitable year on record, despite

those $45 billion in writedowns:

Amid the gloom, analysts estimate New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc.,

Merrill, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos.

will earn a combined $28 billion this year, down 8.3 percent from the record

$30.6 billion in 2006, according to a survey by Bloomberg.

But of course it’s not those five investment banks which are taking the $45

billion in writedowns. To get to that number, you need to include Citigroup,

UBS, and many other commercial banks. Merrill and Bear did suffer losses, but

nothing on the order of $45 billion.

The Bloomberg headline, then, is pretty invidious: the term "Wall Street"

is forced to do double duty, referring both to the banking industry globally

and to the US investment-banking industry in particular.

That said, however, the 8.3% figure is good

news for me, so I’m not complaining too much.

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