Goldman Sachs Traders Lost Money 21 Days in Third Quarter, Most Since ’08

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), which relied on trading for 62 percent of revenue so far this year, recorded losses from that business on 21 days in the third quarter, the most since the fourth quarter of 2008.

The firm’s traders lost more than $100 million on one of the days, according to the New York-based company’s quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. They produced more than $100 million on nine days out of 64 total days in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, the filing showed.

Goldman Sachs, the fifth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, last month reported its second quarterly loss as a public company as it marked down the value of investments the firm had made with its own money. The bank, which sustained a 22 percent drop in client-trading revenue in the first nine months of this year, has said it plans to cut about 1,000 jobs this year.

Morgan Stanley, the sixth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, said this week that its traders lost money on 31 days during the quarter. Traders at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., the two biggest U.S. banks, lost money on 16 days and 20 days respectively, according to company filings last week.

Goldman Sachs’s traders lost money on 15 days during the second quarter and on a single day in the first quarter, according to company reports. Goldman Sachs recorded zero trading losses in the first quarter of 2010, the only such perfect quarter in the firm’s history.

Trading losses exceeded Goldman Sachs’s value-at-risk limit, a measure of how much the company estimates it could lose in the securities markets in one day, on one occasion during the quarter. Average daily value-at-risk was $102 million in the quarter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harper in New York at charper@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net.

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